Just over a month ago Georgia’s Public Services Commission (PSC) voted to approve Georgia Power’s plans to add in 525 megawatts of solar. Now companies are moving forward with plans to start installing new solar projects. For instance, Inman Solar has broken ground on its 1 megawatt solar farm, the first of four 1 megawatt solar farms that it is building out under Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI).
The first projects Inman is building out will be located in Marion and Polk Counties and are part of the first of 45 megawatts of small to mid-size distributed solar electric generation that Georgia Power is adding to its portfolio in 2013. Already other projects are underway throughout the state, too. For instance, Phoenix Solar partnered with Nashville’s Silicon Ranch to build the 38.6 megawatt Simon Solar Farm. The Simon Solar Farm is slated for completion before the end of 2013.
Under Georgia Power’s ASI solar companies have to compete in an attempt to meet a price point with market‐based solutions that do not rely on state incentives. The way it’s designed puts the impetus on solar developers to design projects that are cost-competitive with the grid in the Peach State. “The Georgia Power ASI provides a great benefit to Georgia’s overall economy and has helped us build a nationally competitive solar company that puts Georgians to work and generates economically responsible clean energy and tax revenues for the state,” said Inman Solar President Dan Fossitt.
It looks like this is just the beginning. According to a report out last week from the Environment Georgia Research and Policy Center, solar capacity in Georgia grew by 44 percent, bringing it to a total of 25 megawatts. With just the installation of 45 megawatts of distributed generation this year, it will more than double the amount of solar in the solar in the state.
“The sky’s the limit on solar energy,” said Jennette Gayer, Advocate with Environment Georgia. “The solar leaders in our country have shown that if you want your state to be a leader in pollution-free solar energy, set big goals and get good policies on the books—the good news is Georgia has taken a huge step in the right direction.”
The report, which looked at states across the nation, found that the majority of the states that are doing better in terms of solar did four things. Among them, they had strong renewable portfolio standards, net-metering policies, interconnection agreement policies and flexible financing for homeowners like third-party ownership options.
"This is the Perfect Storm for Solar in Georgia with technology having advanced, interest rates favorable, panel prices down 40 percent in the last two years and Georgia being in the top five states for solar deployment,” said Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, who pushed for the solar expansion.