2014 SEPA Annual Awards Winners | SEPA Skip to content

2014 SEPA Annual Awards Winners

An investor-owned utility in Georgia,  a public power utility in Northern California and an electric cooperative in Southern Maryland.

What these three seemingly disparate and very different utilities have in common is a commitment to pushing ahead with solar energy projects that this year earned them awards from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), announced today at Solar Power International in Las Vegas.

In addition to the three utilities — Georgia Power, the City of Palo Alto Utilities and the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative — SEPA also named Warren McKenna of the Farmers Electric Cooperative as Utility CEO of the Year and Clean Power Research as Innovative Solar Partner of the Year.

Founded in 2005, SEPA’s annual awards recognize organizations and individuals advancing utility innovation, industry collaboration and leadership in the solar energy sector. Here is the full list of 2014 awards announced at SEPA’s award lunch.

Award Categories

Utility CEO of the Year
Utility CEO of the Year went to Warren McKenna of the Farmers Electric Cooperative for making one of the smallest utilities in the United States – Farmers has about 650 members — a national model for a hands-on, keep-it-simple approach to financing and building solar energy projects. The co-op helped a Mennonite high school install a 51-kilowatt (kW) solar system, launched a local feed-in-tariff to support member-owned installations at farms and homes, and built out a community solar garden that always has a waiting list.

Investor-Owned Utility of the Year
Investor-Owned Utility of the Year went to Georgia Power for building the largest and fastest-growing voluntary renewable energy portfolio in the United States. Its acquisition and development model — established in response to urgings advocacy groups, private citizens and the state’s public utilities commission — that tripled the company’s solar resources in less than two years.

Investor-Owned Utility Finalist
El Paso Electric
Indianapolis Power & Light

Innovative Solar Partner of the Year went to Clean Power Research for working with utilities to develop online services aimed at streamlining the interconnection process for photovoltaic (PV) solar projects and reducing the “soft costs” of solar permitting, installation and inspection. Most recently, it partnered with NV Energy to develop the next generation of its PowerClerk software, the newly launched PowerClerk Interconnect, which further expedites approval of interconnection applications by taking current paper and mail-based processes online.

Innovative Solar Partner Finalist
Clean Energy Collective
Tri-County Electric Cooperative

Public Power Utility of the Year
Public Power Utility of the Year went to the City of Palo Alto Utilities for demonstrating solar energy’s viability as a mainstream power source. It hascontinuously increased the size of its solar electric portfolio, including a recent power purchase agreement with 8minutenergy that puts the city on track to run on 100-percent carbon-free power by 2017.

Public Power Utility Finalist 
Delaware Municipal Electric Co. (DEMEC)
Sterling Municipal Light Department

Electric Cooperative of the Year
Electric Cooperative of the Year went to the Southern Maryland Elelctric Cooperative (SMECO) for its commitment to meeting Maryland’s renewable energy targets with locally generated solar power. Its two utility-scale projects — including a 5.5 solar installation on land previously used for tobacco farming — have already put SMECO on track to meet its state-mandated renewable energy goals through 2018.

Electric Cooperative Finalist 
Tri-County Electric Cooperative

About SEPA: SEPA is an educational nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios. SEPA is a founder and on-going co-organizer of Solar Power International. It provides a range of reports, educational events, networking opportunities and advisory consulting services to its members.

Media contact: K Kaufmann, communications manager, [email protected]