Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative was honored today by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) as one of the nation’s Top 10 utilities for delivery of solar energy to its customers.
KIUC was ranked No. 9 on the list of electric utilities that added the most new solar power to their systems on a watts-per-customer basis in 2013. The cooperative was ranked sixth for the cumulative watts installed per customer.
This annual ranking, which identifies the companies that are most quickly integrating solar into the nation’s power grid, is part of the seventh annual Utility Solar Rankings report issued by SEPA. KIUC has been listed among SEPA’s Top 10 for solar integration since the rankings began.
With the addition of nearly 800 customer-sited photovoltaic systems in 2013, KIUC added 167 watts of solar per customer on the grid. By the end of 2013, KIUC had nearly 20 megawatts of solar and about 2,000 PV systems on its grid.
“Our team appreciates the national recognition for our leadership in solar energy, especially in the company of so many larger utilities,” said David Bissell, president and CEO of KIUC. “Pursuing utility-scale solar that benefits all of our members is a key strategy to reach our ambitious renewable energy goals and help bring down the cost of electricity.”
KIUC is building two, 12-megawatt solar arrays that will be among the largest in Hawaiʻi.
In Kōloa, KIUC is building a $40 million array that will meet 6 percent of Kauaʻi’s energy needs and replace 1.7 million gallons of oil annually. The array will be operational this summer.
KIUC also plans to break ground within the next month on a $54 million solar array in partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in Anahola.
By 2015, half of Kauaʻi’s daytime energy needs will be met by solar PV, the highest percentage of solar PV on an electrical grid of any utility in the U.S.
In the latest SEPA rankings, Hawaiian Electric Co. was fifth for new solar watts per customer, Hawaii Electric Light Co. ranked seventh and Maui Electric Co. ranked eighth.
Hawaiian Electric Co. ranked fourth in cumulative watts installed per customer and Maui Electric Co. ranked eighth.
“We are thrilled to see milestones surpassed and barriers broken from coast to coast,” said Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. “It’s truly inspiring to see utility partners and their consumer communities rally around implementing solar programs that are changing the nature of our national energy portfolio.”
Complete rankings can be found at www.sepatop10.org.
KIUC is a member-owned cooperative serving 30,000 customers on the island of Kauaʻi. Governed by a nine-member, elected board of directors, KIUC is one of 930 electric co-ops serving more than 36 million members in 47 states.
SEPA is an educational non-profit organization based in Washington dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios. The SEPA Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings report is one of many market intelligence, utility interaction and educational services SEPA provides to its utility and solar industry members. For more information about SEPA, visit www.solarelectricpower.org.