Since 2013 Georgia Power has integrated approximately 846 megawatts of solar power into the grid. Now it’s announced that it expected to add up to 1.6 gigawatts by 2021, thanks to the implementation of its Renewable Energy Development Initiative and its Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI).
"We continue to focus on introducing new products, services and programs that bring renewable energy to our state without putting upward pressure on rates and ensuring 24/7 reliability for customers," said Norrie McKenzie, vice president of renewable development for Georgia Power. "Thanks to the efforts of many, Georgia is a national solar leader in pioneering customer-focused solar developments which bring value for all of the state's electric customers.”
Georgia Power had a busy solar year in 2016. Not only did the utility integrate over 2 million solar panels into its renewable energy portfolio last year, it also expanded partnerships with the US military to increase clean energy sources, grid security on bases and produce electricity for its customers. It dedicated four on-base solar projects, totaling 120 megawatts, at the Army bases of Fort Benning, Fort Stewart, Fort Gordon and the Navy SUBASE, Kings Bay. A fifth 30-megawatt project is under construction at Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, GA and is planned to go operational by mid-2017.
During 2016, Georgia Power also added projects through its ASI program ranging from 4 kilowatts to 100 megawatts. The ASI, approved in 2012, by the Georgia Public Service Commission (GPS), was initially slated to add 210 megawatts of distributed solar capacity between residential and commercial rooftop and utility-scale projects. It was expanded in 2013 to by 525 more megawatts, or a total of 735 megawatts by 2019.
Georgia’s Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act in 2015, which finally allowed third-party ownership and financing of rooftop and utility-scale solar projects, allowed more competition into the state. Between that and the expansion of the ASI, the utility is now quickly growing its renewable energy generation.
Georgia Power had waded into the rooftop solar sector by offering to finance solar arrays for homeowners and some solar advocates and industry observers, have stated that utility-owned and financed rooftop solar increases access to clean energy sources. Yet, it was criticized by industry advocates for establishing monopoly-like tactics and opposing other solar providers, like SolarCity, from entering the Georgia market. They criticized such monopolies for controlling prices and making rooftop solar more expensive to customers.Tweet