On Tuesday, August 4th, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) voted unanimously to expand Georgia Power’s Green Energy Program. In June, Georgia Power notified the PSC, the current green power program and tariff had exceeded the original cap of 500kW. In an effort to address the issue, Georgia Power filed an amended tariff proposing a 200kW increase above and beyond the 500kW and limited project participation to solar projects 10kW in size or smaller. Walter Brown, Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) Chair, commented “our concern with the amended filing was the chilling effect it would have and perhaps even completely discouraging commercial-scale solar projects from moving forward.” 

After the amendment was filed with the PSC, GSEA partnered with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) which led the effort to educate PSC commissioners and staff about solar energy and the many benefits Georgia could realize if the proper policies were established. “Energy efficiency and solar energy are two ways monthly utility bills can be reduced,” said Ben Taube, SEEA Executive Director. “The decision by the GA PSC Commissioners in coordination with the industry and GA Power will provide the opportunity to encourage more solar in the State as well as provide a framework for larger, commercial-scale projects to move forward. SEEA applauds the leadership of each of the Commissioners that voted on the amendment and the willingness of Georgia Power to assist the solar industry.” 

The PSC amendment that was unanimously supported will provide the following within the Georgia Power service territory: first increase the cap for solar electricity by 1.0 MW to a total of 1.5 MW and include both residential and commercial applications of the solar technology; and secondly the program will be reviewed in 6 months to ensure 80% of the premium being paid for by subscribers is going towards purchasing solar electricity.

“The leadership and vision demonstrated by Commissioners will encourage additional economic development, job creation, and financial investment by the solar industry here in Georgia. We will work diligently to get more customers involved in Georgia Power’s Green Energy program with the goal of making the program one of our countries most successful,” said Walter Brown.” Both GSEA and SEEA will continue working with the PSC Commissioners, Staff and Georgia Power to move solar forward in Georgia.