Clean Power Georgia Set To Increase Solar Energy With New Legislation

Published on March 27th, 2013 | by Tim Tyler


Georgia Set To Increase Solar Energy With New Legislation

March 27th, 2013 by  

A new solar energy bill in the US state of Georgia has been submitted, “Rural Georgia Economic Recovery and Solar Resource Act of 2014.” This bill would create a new model for generation and distribution of electricity, allowing the Public Service Commission to authorize and establish a rural community solar initiative and oversee and manage the expansion of solar energy in the state.

One of the key backers of the bill is Georgia Solar Utilities, who, like other third-party companies, will be able to submit proposals to the Public Service Commission for financing and aggregating solar.

Georgia Set To Increase Solar Energy With New Legislation

Image Credit: Solar Panels via Shutterstock

Individual customers who own solar generating assets will be able to offset a portion of their electricity bills by receiving a pro-rata share of what they have sold back to the grid. This will also be available to renters and other customers who are as yet unable to install their own solar systems, for one reason or another.

The new bill could open the solar energy market for Georgia. It will help clear some of the roadblocks like interconnection and grid access for generating assets, and it should also drive down the soft costs associated with construction and installation by creating market incentives from competitive bidding. Both homes with solar and solar farms will be covered under the statue.

Greentech Media quoted the CEO of Georgia Solar Utilities as saying:

“The world has changed for the economics of solar in Georgia, but we’re stuck with 40-year-old laws that block us from taking advantage of it,” said Robert Green, CEO of Georgia Solar Utilities.

“So we’re offering a conservative, no-brainer proposition: let a private company bear all the downside risk for investing in solar with no upward pressure on utility rates, and let ratepayers reap the upside of future cost savings as solar prices fall.”

The bill also includes a regulatory liability reserve for cost recovery and rate reduction to assist the grid operator. The third parties will pay a liability fee that will be used to offset any unforeseen rate impacts from their solar projects. Such as, wear-and-tear on distribution lines or any cost shifting between non-solar user and solar users.

Any remaining money is reimbursed to solar subscribers as a rate-reduction dividend.

If passed this bill could serve as a model for deploying solar energy in other regulated states. Georgia’s solar potential has been rated as one of the top ten best states, but its current capacity is nowhere near that. Hopefully, this will be the game changer for Georgia.

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About the Author

Holds an electronic's engineering degree and is working toward a second degree in IT/web development. Enjoy's renewable energy topic's and has a passion for the environment. Part time writer and web developer, full time husband and father.

  • Scotland

    Ah, good to see because Georgia has strong sunshine and has lots of clear cloudless days (especially in the Spring/Autumn seasons).

    But will this bill pass? The GOP is in control of both the legislature and Governor’s office in GA. Given the GA Vogtle nuclear plant has two new Gen-III reactors under construction (first ones approved for building in the US – they are estimated to cost $14 billion) and increased solar might reduce the need for that baseload also represents a potential risk to the bill passing.

    • JustSaying

      $14 is likely a low estimate, already hearing they likely will not make that. They needed $8.3b in loan guarantees from Feds and electric price guarantees from GA state government. But assume they make that price, those two unit make ~2.2Gw. that is about $6.3million per MW (and just to build it). That is higher than both wind and PV, likely higher than off shore wind. Plus when one of these units stop (planned or unplanned) it is a much bigger hole to file than a 1MW turbine.

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