Seattle, Wash., June 20, 2012 — The Solar Electric Power Association named Austin Energy the 2012 Public Power Utility of the Year. The award was presented in conjunction with the American Public Power Association's National Conference in Seattle, Washington.
"SEPA is proud to name Austin Energy as its 2012 Public Power Utility of the Year," said Julia Hamm, SEPA President and CEO. "Through a number of innovative measures and business actions over the past year, Austin Energy has made substantial and award-worthy advancements in the delivery of clean, affordable solar energy to its customers."
The most innovative measure undertaken by Austin Energy in the past year was the development of a new residential solar rate that was approved by the Austin City Council on June 7, 2012.
This Value of Solar Rate ensures that customers are appropriately compensated for their investment in solar and creates a sustainable path forward for continued solar deployment by Austin Energy's customers. Austin Energy conducted more than five years of research to support this rate model, and it was one of the first utilities to study this concept.
"This is one of the first solar rates, similar in concept to a feed-in tariff, based on solar's full value to the utility. Austin Energy's thought leadership in this area is just one example of the innovation occurring every day as utilities across the country integrate solar power into their energy portfolios. I believe we will see more utilities taking such measures as solar power continues to grow and becomes even more economically competitive with traditional generation sources," said Hamm.
Last year, the city of Austin also became the largest local government in the United States to go 100 percent green powered thanks to the efforts and innovations of the public power utility. In addition, Austin Energy began purchasing the output of the third-largest PV project in the nation, the 30 MW Webberville Solar Project, adding value to their entire customer base.
Austin Energy was chosen as SEPA's Public Power Utility of the Year from a field of SEPA's 290 public power utility members, and was joined by finalists Lakeland Electric, Long Island Power Authority and Seattle City Light.