The Solar Electric Power Association has named the Top 10 American electric utilities that have added the most new solar power to their systems and the most solar on a watts per customer basis in 2012. This annual ranking, which identifies the companies that are integrating solar into the nation’s power grid, is part of the sixth annual Utility Solar Rankings report.

The full report, which will be released in May 2013, identifies leading solar industry trends such as total installed capacity, market share and industry growth rates. Utilities ranking in this year’s SEPA Top 10 by Solar Megawatt accounted for 73 percent of all capacity integrated in 2012, a slight increase from 2011. Among the top three in the Megawatt rankings are some of the nation’s largest utilities -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California, Southern California Edison and Public Service Electric & Gas Co. (NJ) -- which often rank highly in this category due to their expansive customer solar programs and utility purchasing programs.

Rounding out the Megawatt list are Arizona Public Service, NV Energy, Jersey Central Power & Light, Tucson Electric Power Co., Progress Energy Carolinas, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Hawaiian Electric Co. All were previously ranked in 2011 with the exception of Progress Energy Carolinas, which is in its first year on the list. This is the fifth year that Pacific Gas and Electric Company has topped the list.

“We are pleased at this significant recognition from SEPA and at the ongoing success of our efforts to help our customers enjoy the benefits of solar,” said Steve Malnight, Vice President for Customer Energy Solutions at PG&E. “We remain committed to providing our customers with energy that is clean, reliable, affordable and safe.”

The SEPA Top 10 Solar Watts Per Customer rankings take into account the number of customers each utility serves relative to their solar megawatts installed, giving small utilities a more competitive opportunity to measure their solar energy capacity. Leading the Solar Watts Per Customer rankings are many municipal utilities including the City of St. Mary’s, Ohio, Kauai Island Utility Coop in Hawaii and Bryan Municipal Utilities in Ohio.

Both Ohio utilities were not previously ranked and Kauai moved up from number 12 in the 2011 ratings. The remaining Top 10 providers include Hawaiian Electric Co., Chickasaw (Tenn.) Electric Coop, Maui (Hawaii) Electric Co., Imperial Irrigation District in Calif., Tucson (Ariz.) Electric Power Co., City of Napoleon in Ohio and Vineland Municipal Electric Utility in N.J.

“It is my opinion that the City of St. Mary’s should have a diverse energy portfolio embracing various technologies. I feel that Green Energy solutions, including solar power, offer our citizens clean and economical energy,” remarked Patrick McGowan, Mayor of the City of St. Mary’s, Ohio.

“Utility companies across the nation are embracing clean energy solutions and showing their commitment to a more diverse energy portfolio improving the environment,” said Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. “We are impressed with the sheer number of new utilities that have moved into the Top 10 lists, particularly those who have never been ranked in the past and are now adopting solar as part of their energy mix, increasingly so as the price of solar power declines year over year."

PSEG Chairman, President and CEO Ralph Izzo with solar panels (Photo by Carmine Galasso)