Interconnected Solar is Healthy and Expanding

An Interactive Experience | Highlights from the 2019 Utility Solar Market Snapshot


The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) began surveying electric utilities annually in 2007 to track the capacity of interconnected solar power. The yearly survey and subsequent Snapshot reports provide critical insights into the U.S. solar market, with a particular focus on utility-scale development.  The 2019 Utility Solar Market Snapshot results are based on data reported from participating utilities.  The participating utilities represent slightly more than 108 million customer accounts, or approximately 74% of all customer accounts throughout the United States and 71% of all MWhs sold in 2018.

National Market

The national solar market is staying solid with the utility-supply market being the highlight for growth and new state markets emerging. 7.3 GWs of interconnected solar capacity was added, which marked a 20.1% increase in total capacity over 2017.

2018 Annual Solar Capacity (MW-AC)


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The U.S. solar market continued growing strong and notably expanded to new emerging state markets in 2018 including Florida, Washington, and Rhode Island.

2008-2018 Annual Solar Capacity Added By Sector (MW-AC)

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Nationally, the utility-supply solar market was the highlight with 15.1% growth.  Overall the market growth rate for residential and non-residential declined in 2018.

Industry Trends

Utilities are most interested in encouraging customer solar adoption through
incentives, community solar, green tariffs and trusted energy advisor approaches.

State Community Solar Policies

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20 states and the District of Columbia have community solar policies in place and utilities have indicated a strong preference for utility-managed programs over third-party managed programs.

States Considering Changes to PURPA Implementation

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State level policies for solar compensation are evolving.  At least 18 states recently considered or are currently considering changes to Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) implementation rules.  Many of the changes under consideration relate to standard offer size limits and contract terms, legally enforceable obligations, and avoided cost methodologies.

Flexible Solar

Flexible solar will allow solar PV to become a dispatchable resource through advanced inverter functionality, smart contracts, and solar plus storage.

Smart Contracts and Programs

Potential Ancillary Services Created By Renewable Dispatchable Generation

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Utility power purchase contracts can be structured to make solar a flexible stand-alone grid resource while customer-sited solar can be incentivized through compensation mechanisms or utility customer programs.

Solar Plus Storage

2018 Utility Residential VS. Non-Residential Solar+Storage Trends


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One of the three ways of making solar flexible is to co-locate it with an inherently flexible resource such as energy storage.  The coupling of solar and storage is an ideal match. Utility residential and non-residential trends show the majority are at least interested in solar plus storage.


Advanced Inverter Functionality
2018 Utility Interest in Advanced Inverter Functionalities

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The use of advanced inverters offers the potential for solar to be used as a dynamic grid resource to provide direct benefits to the distribution grid and mitigate impacts from variable distributed generation.

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