The Smart Electric Power Alliance has released its 2015 Solar Market Snapshot which monitors key trends in the US market for solar as well as other distributed resources.The report states that the amount of solar residential rooftops across the country increased by 50%, from 3,612 MW to 5,434 MW.
Its notes however, utility-procured solar projects that range from community solar to large-scale plants continue to deliver the most capacity, close to 3,500 MW in 2015, at prices increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. [Cape Town home to Africa’s largest integrated solar plant]
The report adds that 30 state legislatures or regulatory commissions have considered reforms regarding rate design and compensation for solar customers for excess power that they feed into the grid.
According to a press release, the Smart Electric Power Alliance said that a total of 61 utilities filed applications to increase fixed service fees, but only seven cases were approved at the full amount requested, while 18 were approved at a lower amount and 17 were denied.
Distributed energy resources
[quote] Utilities are said to have begun testing advanced technologies that will allow them to integrate large amounts of solar and other distributed resources. More than half of the utilities answering survey questions expressed interest in advanced technologies, such as storage and advanced inverters, but at this point, actual deployment numbers are still low. [Solar PV a threat to IOU utility business models – report]
SEPA research analyst Ryan Edge, who led the survey, said: “What distinguishes SEPA’s survey from other market intelligence is that our data is based on numbers of solar megawatts and interconnections we get directly from utilities.
“This approach provides a more realistic assessment of trends and regional growth patterns.”
Julia Hamm, SEPA president and CEO, added: “The 2015 snapshot confirms, once again, the central role utilities are playing in the energy transition – and will continue to play as we face the challenges in policy and technology still ahead.
“But most important, the report clearly documents solar’s increasing cost-competitiveness with other forms of generation, the integral role of other distributed energy resources, and the need for clear, replicable roadmaps for change that can balance risk and innovation.”