Friday, June 10, 2011

Kauai utility KIUC has nation's highest photovoltaic penetration

The little cooperative electric utility on Kaua'i has the highest solar power penetration of any utility in the country.

A new report from the Solar Electric Power Association said that in 2010, the Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) was a national leader in total installed photovoltaic capacity on a per customer basis.

Hawai`i's other electric utilities lag KIUC, but they are also ranked near the top nationally.

(Full disclosure: Jan TenBruggencate, the owner of this blog and author of this article, is an elected member of the KIUC Board of Directors.)

The Solar Electric Power Association report, “2010 SEPA Utility Solar Rankings,” is available online here.

KIUC, which the report says had 3.25 megawatts of installed solar capacity at the end of 2010, has 23,300 customer-members and about 32,700 meters. That works out to about 100 installed solar watts per meter. The top utility in the SEPA ranking, and the only one to beat KIUC, is Southern California Edison 119 watts per customer.

O`ahu's Hawaiian Electric ranked 4th at 94, Maui Electric 5th at 93, and the Big Island's Hawaiian Electric Light 9th at 66 installed solar watts per customer.

But those numbers are last year's news. The big news now, of course, is that KIUC expects to double its photovoltaic production within this calendar year, which should leapfrog it to first place by a very large margin.

As of this writing, installed solar penetration is about 150 watts per meter, and by the end of the year, the number should be well north of 200. As far as the utility figures, nobody else comes close.

To learn more about KIUC and it solar initiatives, see here.

For other info about Kaua`i's feisty little electric cooperative, visit its website.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2010

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