Georgia Power has filed a proposal to more than triple the company’s solar energy production. But it’s smaller than a plan from a competitor.
Georgia Power’s proposal would increase the amount of solar power it buys from homeowners, small businesses and commercial vendors by 270 megawatts over the next three years.
Vice President Mike Hazelton says that would power 26 thousand homes.
“As we have seen in the solar industry over the last several years we’ve seen vast changes and improvements. And it’s becoming more cost effective now.” he says.
But competitor Georgia Solar Utilities says it wants to provide 2 gigawatts of solar power – 5 percent of the state’s energy needs.
Georgia Power Vice President Greg Roberts says they could work with Georgia Solar without having to compete.
He says “I don’t see any reason why the Georgia Solar folks couldn’t put in a bid on our large-scale program if you will. They’re interested in developing large-scale projects, and we have 60 mega watts of those a year so I think we could work together on that.”
Roberts says they would not have to increase rates to customers.
He says “It’s good for solar developers. It pays them a good price for their solar generation. It’s good for individual homeowners and businesses that want to put solar on their facilities. But it’s also good for all customers who don’t put solar on their facilities. So we think it’s a win for everybody.”
Neither plan would go through without approval from the Public Service Commission, which is reviewing the requests.
Jessica Moore, executive director of the Georgia Solar Energy Association says they are closely following the Public Service Commission's deliberations on this proposal.
She says "We are glad to see Georgia Power recognize solar as a viable, cost-effective method of delivering electricity to its customers. This is a good first step toward increasing Georgia's solar infrastructure."
Moore says "Solar creates jobs, keeps rising energy rates in check and makes Georgia more self-sufficient when it comes to meeting our energy needs."