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  • Customer Smart
  • Program Smart
  • Technology Smart
Monday, April 28 (Pre-Conference Activities)
7:00 AM - 7:00 PM Registration
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM Solar Tour - Including Breakfast and Lunch Separate registration required
2:00 PM - 6:30 PM Geared Student Research Conference
Open to all USC registrants 
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Opening Reception - Sponsored by EDF Renewable Energy
Tuesday, April 29
Conference Day 1 - Open to all Participants
7:00 AM - 5:30 PM Registration
7:00 AM - 7:50 AM Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM - 9:15 AM Opening General Session 
  • Julia Hamm, President & CEO, Solar Electric Power Association
Presentation of the Utility Solar Awards
Discussion: Challenges to Building the Solar Smart Utility 
9:15 AM - 10:00 AM Networking Break with Solution Providers
10:00 AM - 11:10 AM Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart Thinking Outside of the Big Box: How Utilities can Better Serve Commercial Customers with Solar

Large-Commercial Customers provide unique opportunities and challenges for utilities. In this session we examine key accounts from the perspective of the utility and from the customer. The discussion will highlight customers such as big-box stores and working with the military.

  • Carmine Tilghman, Director, Renewable Resources, UNS Energy / Tucson Electric Power (Speaker & Facilitator)
  • Melisa Johns, Director, Business Development, Renewable Generation Development, Duke Energy
  • Amanda Simpson, Executive Director, Army Initiatives Task Force
Program Smart Solar and Utility Market and Business Trends 

Hear from experts on the current market and trends of the solar industry including pricing and costs (including soft costs) and utility macro trends that are shaping the way utilities are approaching solar market developments.

  • Mike Taylor, Director of Research, SEPA (Presenter & Facilitator) 
  • Charles Hornbrook, Principa & Director of Distributed Energy Resources, ICF International
  • Shayle Kann, VP, Research, Greentech Media Research 
Technology Smart The State of Solar Forecasting

This session will examine the evolution of solar forecasting tools, including accuracy, how they are currently being utilized, and how that is expected to develop in the future. There will also be discussion on the benefits of forecasting in predicting net load, addressing intermittency and enhancing the value of PV.

  • Miriam Makhyoun, Research Manager, SEPA (Presenter & Moderator)
  • Tom Hoff, President, Research and Strategy, Clean Power Research
  • Dora Nakafuji, Director of Renewable Energy Planning, Hawaiian Electric Company 
  • Elaine Sisson-Lebrilla, Senior Project Manager Advanced, Renewable & Distributed Generation Technology, Sacramento Municipal Utility District 
11:15 AM - 12:25 PM Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart What Solar Success Means to a Utility

Join utility experts and members of the SEPA Board of Directors as they share their thoughts on this compelling topic. What does “success” look like? How will the picture differ across regions and utility types? Discussion will examine a wide variety of drivers in areas including: finance, transmission, business models, marketing, and more.

  • Bob Gibson, VP Education and Outreach, SEPA (Facilitator)
  • Matt Ferguson, Counsel, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Alex Kim, Director of Residential Services, San Diego Gas & Electric
  • Lori Singleton, Director, Program Operations for Solar, Sustainability, and Telecom, Salt River Project
  • Theresa Williams, Chief Strategy Officer, Western Area Power Administration
Program Smart First Steps: How to Make Incremental Changes to Establish a Solar-Ready Utility

Still evaluating your solar options? Come learn about best practices and steps your utility can take that will help it stand out as solar-ready. The Department of Energy’s American Solar Transformation Initiative is sharing best practices in solar deployment and management with utilities around the country. Optony and SEPA will discuss practical and accessible opportunities for utilities to streamline and improve interconnection standards and procedures, DG rate tariffs, solar financing options and solar market development.

  • Becky Campbell, Senior Research Manager, SEPA (Facilitator)
  • Ben Foster, SVP, Americas, Optony
  • Thomas Yurysta, Project Manager, Optony
Technology Smart Advancing the Case for Smart Inverters

Join a select group of experts as they discuss the tools and new solutions for distribution planning and system optimization. Topics will include using inverters and integrated storage for voltage control, power compensation, charge/discharge management and grid communications as effective tools for the sophisticated management of solar.

  • Ted Davidovich, Manager, Utility Planning, SEPA (Speaker & Moderator)
  • Michael Coddington, Senior Electrical Engineer, NREL
  • Doug Danley, Senior Program Manager, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • Dan Sowder, Senior Project Manager, Emerging Technology, Duke Energy
12:30 PM - 1:40 PM SEPA Networking Luncheon
1:45 PM - 2:55 PM Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart Building Solar into Your Communications Message

Join us to examine customer expectations and opinions on utilities and renewable energy and how these are evolving. Learn how to improve customer communications, develop effective messaging. Gain insight into when to engage your customer base, how to further understanding and successfully grow customer support.

  • Bob Gibson, VP Education and Outreach, SEPA (Facilitator)
  • JoAnn Newton, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications, Public Service Company of New Mexico
  • Suzanne Shelton, CEO, Shelton Group 
Program Smart Organizational Strategy: How Utilities are Restructuring to Best Manage Renewable Growth

Attendees to this session will be among the first to hear the results of the recent SEPA & Scott Madden benchmarking study. Findings include how different utilities organize their renewable energy groups and activities and benchmarks for key RE activities; related level of effort and metrics to measure investment and outcomes.

  • Mike Taylor, Director of Research, SEPA (Presenter & Moderator)
  • John Pang, Partner, ScottMadden
Technology Smart Planning for Energy Storage as a Utility Asset

Energy storage has the potential to greatly expand the value of solar- for the utility and the customer. Will storage complement or compete with grid service? The session speakers will focus on the practical utilization of a variety of energy storage technologies, including the factors that will drive the market for storage and how it will be deployed, controlled and optimized.

  • Cris Eugster, Group Executive Vice President, Chief Generation and Strategy Officer, CPS Energy (Moderator)
  • Ali Nourai, Segment Leader, Renewables & Storage, DNV GL Energy
  • Bodhi Rader, Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Jon Eric Thalman, Director of Regulatory Strategy & Transmission Asset Management, PG&E
3:00 PM - 3:45 PM Solution Provider Networking Break
3:50 PM - 5:00 PM Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart Advancing Value of Solar Transactions: Latest Developments in Austin and Minnesota

There is a growing interest in refining the solar transaction between customers and their utilities by developing better tools to capture a Solar and System Value, and produce a 'win-win' for all parties. In this session we will use the two leading examples- Austin Energy's two years of experience with its solar transaction methodology- to focus discussion on what we can expect in terms of developing effective and equitable solutions.

  • Eran Mahrer, EVP, Strategy & Research, SEPA (Moderator)
  • Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources
  • Tim Harvey, Solar Program Coordinator, Austin Energy
  • Ben Norris, Senior Consultant, Clean Power Research
Program Smart
Fast Forward
Fast Forward (4:00 – 4:25 pm)
Concentrating Solar Power – Flexibility and the Value of Energy Storage

Join us for the latest details on how CSP with thermal energy storage can provide firm capacity, increase grid flexibility and other ancillary benefits. Learn how these technologies may be a complementary resource with other solar and distributed generation.

  • Paul Denholm, Senior Energy Analyst, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Fast Forward (4:30 – 5:00 pm)
Meeting Solar Challenges in Cities

Coordinated approaches and successful partnerships moving solar forward in NYC.

  • Laurie Reilly, Communications Director, City University of New York
Technology Smart
Fast Forward
Fast Forward (4:00 – 4:25 pm)
Exploring Interconnection Issues

Learn about the impact and challenges of DG integration from an experienced New Jersey utility. Topics will include utility planning; codes and standards; federal versus state interconnection procedures; and recommendations for moving forward.

  • James Calore, Manager, Interconnection Planning, PSEG
Fast Forward (4:30 – 5:00 pm)
Recognizing and Avoiding COde Violations in Large-Scale PV Plants

This session will focus on national electrical code violations and installation mistakes observed; performance impacts and recommended corrections.

  • Shawn Fitzpatrick, Energy Engineer, Advanced Energy
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Solution Provider Networking Reception
Wednesday, April 30
Conference Day 2 – Utility Participants Only
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Registration
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Networking Breakfast
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM General Session
A Smart Future

Enjoy being challenged by a roundtable of forward-thinking and diverse utility executives as they provide a view of solar from the executive suite. Our speakers bring considerable experience to the discussion and will share insights that reflect their individual companies and goals. Discussion will include current efforts but will focus on the future.


  • Julia Hamm, President & CEO, SEPA

Executive Roundtable

  • Caroline Choi, Vice President, Integrated Planning & Environmental Affairs, Southern California Edison
  • John Hewa, CEO, Pedernales Electric Cooperative
  • Rob Caldwell, VP, Renewable Generation Development, Duke Energy 
  • Frankie McDermott, Chief Customer Officer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
10:10 AM - 10:55 AM Networking Break with Solution Providers
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart New Business Models: Finding Solar Opportunities that Satisfy and Drive Collaboration Between Utilities and Solar Developers

Join SEPA, Duke Energy, Rocky Mountain Institute and Green Mountain Power for this round-table discussion focusing on growing opportunities for utilities to develop solar by leveraging profitable partnerships while meeting strategic needs. Discussion will look at roles, challenges and needs and will examine real utility experiences with innovative solar business models.

  • Eran Mahrer, EVP, Strategy & Research, SEPA (Speaker & Facilitator)
  • Melisa Johns, Director, Business Development, Renewable Generation Development, Duke Energy
  • Virginia Lacy, Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Mary Powell, President & CEO, Green Mountain Power
Customer, Program & Technology Smart Answers from the Experts

USC will feature white boards in easy-to-find locations. Your job – as active USC participants – is to populate them with your questions. Is there something basic you’d love to ask – but would rather do it anonymously? Are you stumped about a particular technology, tool or program? Do you need help with something you’re working on? Here’s your chance! Experts from experienced utilities will help supply the answers…as will our experts in the audience. Join us for a lively session!

  • John Sterling, Director, Utility Strategy & Planning, SEPA (Moderator) 
  • Jon Bertolino, Superintendent, Renewable Generation, Sacramento Municipal Utility District 
  • Gary Barsley, Manager, Customer Distributed Generation Programs, Southern California Edison
  • Joel Dickenson, Senior Engineer, Solar Initiatives, Salt River Project
Technology Smart Where Utilities are Investing in Solar R&D – and What We are Learning

Join utility experts who will share their thoughts on the role of utilities in Research & Development as well as the R&D effort being done within the utility and with strategic partners.

  • Daisy Chung, Research Analyst, SEPA (Moderator)
  • Obadiah Bartholomy, Project Manager, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
  • Ted Burhans, Senior Program Manager, Renewable Energy Resources, Tucson Electric Power / UNS Energy
12:05 PM - 12:35 PM Fast Forward Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart Fast Forward
What to Expect When Your Utility Faces High Penetration of Solar

Hawaiian Electric offers a preview of what utilities in many parts of the U.S. will experience as solar grows in popularity. Explore the issues Hawaiian Electric faces that the penetration of renewable energy increases. Get insights on options that may mitigate the impacts of high penetration in the future.

  • Rosella Motoki, Energy Contract Manager, Hawaiian Electric Company
Program Smart Fast Forward
Developing a Solar Strategic Framework
  • John Sterling, Director, Utility Strategy & Planning, SEPA (Moderator)
Technology Smart Fast Forward

Utility Solar Database Demonstration
The Utility Solar Database (USD) serves as a clearinghouse for everything related to utilities and solar, from programs and projects to reports and RFPs. You can look at individual utilities or sort by subject areas and see what utilities are applicable. Visit the database at

  • Daisy Chung, Research Analyst, SEPA
12:40 PM - 1:40 PM SEPA Networking Lunch
1:45 PM - 2:45 PM Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart Emerging Trend: Updates on Utility Community Solar Programs from Around the Country

SEPA is currently tracking more than 25 active utility managed or contracted community solar programs, while many more are in the planning phase based on current research and consulting engagements. However, there is very little standardization across program designs and customer responses to these programs has varied considerably. Learn how your utility peers are identifying best practices and overcoming challenges in designing and deploying community solar offerings.

  • Becky Campbell, Senior Research Manager, SEPA (Speaker &Facilitator)
  • Joe Barra, Senior Consultant, Portland General Electric
  • Ted Kjos, VP Marketing/External Communications, Tri-County Electric Coop
  • Jennifer Szaro, Renewable Energy Manager, Orlando Utilities Commission
Program Smart Emerging Approaches to Integrating Solar into Utility Rates

As customer adoption of solar accelerates in many markets across the U.S., utilities are working on new rate approaches and structures that will provide the greatest benefit to the utility and its customers.

  • John Sterling, Director, Utility Strategy & Planning, SEPA (Moderator)
  • Dianne Corsello, Manager, Customer Solutions Renewable Energy & New Technology, Dominion Virginia Power
  • Meghan Grabel, General Manager, Rates, Pricing and Revenue, APS
  • Chris Greenwell, Manager of Commercial Services, OGE Energy Corporation
  • Chris Yunker, Rates & Analysis Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric
Technology Smart Solar O&M for Utilities

APS shares its experience with solar project O&M and presents costs and trends. Session will include a Question & Answer Period following presentations.

  • Jimi Diaz, Electrical Engineer - Technology Solutions, Arizona Public Service
  • James Piotrowski, Leader, Solar Operations & Maintenance, Arizona Public Service
2:50 PM - 4:00 PM Concurrent Sessions
Customer Smart Net Energy Metering: Trends and Lessons Learned

Experts from Arizona Public Service and PG&E will provide overview on NEM; how it is evolving and critical lessons learned from recent NEM activities.

  • Dan Halperin, Director, Distributed Generation, PG&E
  • Rex Stepp, Leader, Renewable Energy Program, APS
Program Smart New Tools to Manage the Customer Experience: PowerClerk Users’ Meeting 

Join experts from Clean Power Research and PowerClerk to learn how unlocking program data makes it possible to drive smart solar integration across the utility. All interested utility staff are welcome to participate.

  • Miriam Makhyoun, Research Manager, SEPA (Moderator)
  • Obadiah Bartholomy, Project Manager, Sacramento Municipal Utility District 
  • Jeff Healion, Operations Manager, RenewableGenerations Program, NV Energy
  • Mark Liffman, VP, Business Development, Clean Power Research
  • Patrick McCoy, Solar Retail Strategy Planner, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
  • Jeff Ressler, President, Software Services, Clean Power Research
  • Scott Tewel, PowerClerk Product Manager, Clean Power Research
Technology Smart Smart Grid PV Pilot Program 
Con Edison's Smart Grid PV Pilot Prpgram provides its PV system with maximum time online while maintaining grid protection with active monitoring and remotely operated 460V network protectors. This 1.6MW PV system exports power to the grid through an isolated network installation, which would have otherwise been disallowed by interconnection policies.

  • Jim Skillman, Customer Project Manager, Distributed Generation Group, Consolidated Edison
Thursday, May 1

SEPA's Solar Procurement Workshop is an education and networking event for utilities and solar developer/EPC's. The workshop will focus on utility best practices and lessons learned in planning for and procuring solar resources.

Open to both utility and industry participants. Separate registration required. USC participants will receive a 50% discount code in their USC registration confirmation email.