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Friday, May 24, 2013 - 3:00pm

Weighing Changes From Renewables

The Southern Co. is brainstorming ways it can more widely incorporate renewable energy such as solar power into its traditional business model.

CEO Thomas Fanning said this week that the utility has assembled a team to study how distributed generation, particularly solar power, might be used as it becomes cheaper and more efficient. Unlike large, centralized fossil fuel or nuclear plants, solar panels could generate electricity from many places spread around an electric system.

Fanning says a brainstorming team is expected to issue an initial report later this summer. No firm decisions have been made.

In one approach, Fanning says customers with solar panels could get a credit toward their electric bill or a payment for their power.

Another approach would have Southern Co. lease solar panel space on homes.

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