Last October, Julia Hamm, executive director of Washington, D.C.–based Solar Electric Power Association, challenged solar and utility industries to deploy solar power on a massive scale despite new economic barriers. SEPA recently issued a report demonstrating the industry has responded. The “2008 Top Ten Utility Solar Integration Rankings” report identifies those utilities in the U.S. that have the most significant amounts of solar electricity integrated into their portfolio and records the increased collaboration of U.S. electric utility and solar energy industries. The overall installed solar capacity of the Top 10 ranked utilities rose from 711 megawatts to 882 megawatts, reflecting a 25 percent growth since the challenge was issued. Ninety-two utilities participated in this year’s survey. Renewable portfolio standards, impending carbon policy, and fluctuating costs of power generation and fuel resources top the list of drivers towards improved perception of solar electric options. The report also documents a wave of utility-driven installations, pointing to the growing importance of utilities in the solar power market, and the growing importance of solar power to the business of utilities. “Residential and commercial photovoltaic projects will continue to be important stimulants for job creation and small business growth, but they will be complemented by large-scale photovoltaic and concentrating solar power projects,” says Mike Taylor, director of research and education at SEPA. For more information and to download the report, visit