SEPA Announces 2011 Solar Business Achievement Award Winners

At Solar Power International 2011 in Dallas this week, the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) announced the results of the 2011 SEPA Solar Business Achievement Awards.

“2011 has been a watershed year for the addition of solar electricity onto the grid thanks to leadership, creative thinking and collaboration from all corners of the utility and solar industries,” said Julia Hamm president and CEO of SEPA, the educational and not-for-profit organisation

Winners of the 2011 SEPA Solar Business Achievement Awards are:

Utility CEO of the Year: Armando J. Olivera, Florida Power & Light Company
FPL has built more solar power than any other utility in the US. To achieve this in Florida, which has resisted enacting a Renewable Portfolio Standard, FPL worked with the state’s Legislature and Public Service Commission to enable investments. In the span of three years, from 2008 to 2010, FPL built two PV projects — a 25MW array in DeSoto County and a 10MW array at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center — and the world’s first utility-scale hybrid plant, connecting a 75MW solar thermal array to and existing combined-cycle natural gas plant in Martin County.

Regarding Olivera, Hamm said, “Armando J. Olivera  personifies these qualities better than anyone, and is an outstanding example of a leader who understands the vital and ever-growing role utilities play in expanding US solar markets”.

Utility Solar Portfolio Leadership Award: Sacramento Municipal Utility District
With a variety of net metering, virtual net metering and grid connected programs, Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) PV efforts result in a wide mix of residential and commercial solar opportunities. The Residential Retrofit program is responsible for generating 3.18 MW on more than 2,000 customers’ homes that now take advantage of net metering, thanks to rooftop PV. The Commercial Retrofit program helped install more than 16MW on rooftops for businesses such as Aerojet, REI, Kohl’s and Costco. Home renters now have an opportunity to utilize the benefits of solar power through the SolarShares program that installed 1 MW of grid-connected solar power in 5kW - 4kW virtual net metered increments. The Low Income Multi-Family Solar program is responsible for a 500 kW system at a 160-unit low-income complex in Citrus Heights, CA, with 6 MW still in the pipeline.

Utility Innovation in Solar Program Design: Salt River Project & Tucson Electric Power
Salt River Project (SRP) is the third-largest public power utility in the US, serving nearly 950,000 electric customers through a variety of resources. The SRP Community Solar program brings solar power to schools and residential customers without the upfront costs and maintenance required for rooftop systems. Last year, Salt River Project, in partnership with Tessera Solar won Solar Partner of the Year.

Tucson Electric Power’s (TEP) Bright Tucson Community Solar Program allows customers to purchase energy from local solar arrays in 150kWh blocks, designed to target customers who are unable to purchase their own solar system. The Bright Tucson Community Solar Program offers an easy and innovative way for TEP customers to tap into Tucson’s abundant sunshine to meet their daily energy needs.

Utility Community Outreach and Public Awareness: Pacific Gas and Electric Company
To help raise the awareness and utilization of solar power in California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continually educates its customers about the value of this clean, renewable energy source. Through 43 webinars and on-site classes, PG&E reached more than a thousand individuals, educating them on topics such as solar basics, the financial implications of installing solar and the various California solar initiatives. During last year’s ceremony, PG&E’s Peter Darbee won Utility CEO of the Year and the company also won Utility Solar Portfolio Leadership Award.

Solar Partner of the Year: Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s (ASU) commitment to solar energy is unparalleled. ASU’s relationship with its local utility, Arizona Public Service (APS) has proven to be a successful partnership in accelerating the university’s solar program. ASU’s solar installations are facilitated, in part, by the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

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