DATELINE – OUACHITA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CORPORATION (OECC) has been named as one of a select group of utilities that connected the most solar or the most storage to the grid in 2016, earning it a spot on the annual Top 10 utility industry lists compiled by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).
In survey results released April 26, Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation ranked No. 4 on the Utility SOLAR/ENERGY STORAGE list, with 1,282 megawatts (MW)/watts per customer installed in 2016. The 2017 listing is the 1st time OECC has made SEPA’s Top 10.
Awards are given in four categories: Top 10 utilities for most new solar megawatts and most new watts per customer, and Top 10 utilities for most new storage megawatts and most watts per customer. The Top 10 winners in all categories were recognized at the organization’s flagship utility event, the SEPA Utility Conference, this year being held in Tucson.
The 10th annual survey includes figures from 412 utilities across the country on solar connected to the grid both in 2016 and in total since 2007. The energy storage Top 10 lists are a new addition to the survey results this year.
The partnership between Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Silicon Ranch and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) has been beneficial to all parties involved. OECC has received lower peak demand costs. Aerojet Rocketdyne has received low cost renewable energy for the next 25 years. Silicon Ranch was able to build the first utility scale solar project in Arkansas. AECC was able to add solar to their overall portfolio. The real winners, though, have been the people of South Arkansas and to Aerojet Rocketdyne who has added over 225 permanent full time jobs since the project was completed.
“One of the reasons we started the Utility Solar Top 10 lists back in 2007 was to highlight the key, but often unrecognized role utilities were taking in putting new solar on the grid,” said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. “At this pivotal moment in the U.S. energy transition, the industry leaders on this year’s Top 10 lists — such as Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation — will continue to be critical to the growth of solar, storage and other distributed energy resources on the grid.”
The full Top 10 listings are available online at www.sepatop10.org.
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit working to facilitate the utility industry’s transition to a clean energy future through education, research and collaboration. SEPA offers a range of research initiatives and resources, as well as conferences, educational events and professional networking opportunities. SEPA is founder and co-sponsor of Solar Power International and winner of the Keystone Policy Center’s 2016 Leadership in Energy Award. For more information, visit www.sepapower.org.