Georgia brightens solar future
Energy regulators in Georgia on Tuesday unanimously approved Georgia Power Company's September proposal to construct nearly 200 megawatts of new solar generation, which will triple the utility's previous capacity over a two-year period.
The utility is calling its "Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative" the largest voluntarily acquired solar portfolio by an investor owned utility. Up until now, the utility has been only in the beginning stages of solar generation, and has installed trackable solar panels at its corporate headquarters in Atlanta. The plan approved Tuesday does not call for new development but rather will gather generation capacity from purchases of small solar generation projects ranging from 1 to 20 megawatts. RFPs for the solar purchases will conducted between 2013 and 2014.
"Developed in cooperation with the PSC, our solar plan will encourage new, cost-competitive opportunities for solar development in our state while helping Georgia Power continue to build a diverse generation portfolio that provides our customers with the safest, most reliable and most cost-effective electric system in the nation," said Georgia Power President and CEO Paul Bowers, in a statement following the decision.
Since 1973, Georgia state law has granted Georgia Power the exclusive right to serve its customers -- including with solar power. But regulators on Tuesday also voted to permit an appeal of the law, which if amended would open the door to outside solar providers.