FAQ

Does the USD include information on all solar installations in the United States ?

The USD has information on many large, utility-scale solar installations greater than 5 MW that can be associated with at least one electric utility (through PPAs, utility incentive programs, or direct utility ownership). The USD also contains aggregate information about solar projects installed within some utilities' service territories (based on SEPA's annual utility solar survey). This aggregate data includes the residential, non-residential, and centralized market segments.

Does the USD have any information on international solar activity?

The USD only includes solar activity information for U.S. electric utilities.

Does the USD include all utilities in the country? Why can't I find my utility in the Utility Solar Database?

There are more than 3,000 electric utilities in the U.S. The USD focuses only on utilities that have been associated with at least one solar project, program, report or other activity. As a result, the USD currently contains entries for approximately 400-500 utilities. As more utilities increase their activity within the solar space, SEPA will increase the number of utilities that are tracked in the USD.

Does the USD track planned utility solar programs/installations or only already existing ones?

The USD tracks both existing solar installations/programs as well as planned ones. However, information about existing projects/programs is likely more detailed.

How can I find out how many MWs my utility has on the grid?

Aggregate solar installation data is submitted by utilities through SEPA's annual utility solar survey. If a utility's total solar capacity is available, it can be found under the 'Solar Profile' heading, which is part of the Utilities section. (Utilities can be searched for by state, name, or utility-type.) 

There's a discrepancy between what I thought a solar term meant and how the USD is using it. Why is that, and how is the term being used in the case of the database?

The solar industry is still relatively nascent, and policy and business models remain very dynamic. As a result, terminology is not always widely agreed upon, and sometimes specific terms are used by different entities to mean different things. USD has a glossary so that users can better understand how SEPA is defining specific terms that are used throughout the database.

How often is the information in the USD updated?

The data in the USD is updated at varying timelines, depending on the type and source of information. Data updates range from weekly to once a year. Unless a correction or addition is brought to SEPA's attention, data will be updated in accordance with the following schedule:

USD Content AreaFrequency of Updates
Snapshot Annually
News Monthly
Programs Quarterly-Annually
Projects Quarterly
Rankings Annually
Procurement Monthly-Quarterly
Reports Biannually
Policy Monthly-Quarterly
Incentives Monthly-Quarterly

Where does SEPA obtain the information that is in the USD?

The data contained within the USD comes from a variety of sources. Data is collected from the sources detailed in the table below:

USD Content Area                Data Source
Snapshot Energy Information Administration (US DOE), SEPA research
News SEPA research/other data provider(s)
Programs SEPA research
Projects S&P Global Market Intelligence and other data provider(s)
Rankings SEPA proprietary dataset
Procurement SEPA research
Reports SEPA research
Policy DSIRE, SEPA research
Incentives DSIRE, SEPA research

What is the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA)?

The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), formerly Solar Electric Power Association, is a non-profit education organization founded in 1992 that focuses on providing utilities with unbiased solar research, analysis and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning.

Where can I submit feedback or changes/corrections for the USD?

If you would like to make suggested improvements or if you have updates/corrections to data in the USD, please feel free to submit feedback to usd@solarelectricpower.org.

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