Georgia Power brings southern charm and solar leadership to SPI

Ask a solar professional to list the states they feel are leading the solar revolution, Georgia doesn’t come to mind first. But like Bill Elliot rounding turn four at Atlanta Motor Speedway, this hard-charging state has hit the accelerator on its solar support.

Day one of Solar Power International saw guests from one of North America’s top solar utilities, Georgia Power, visit the show and tour SMA’s The Main Event-themed booth. The executive team from Georgia Power was enthusiastic to spend time with company representatives to learn more about the solar industry at the year’s largest tradeshow.

Georgia Power executives and John Megna, director, business development, talk on the show floor.

Georgia Power executives and John Megna, director, business development, talk on the show floor.

Congratulations are in order for Georgia Power, which received the Solar Electric Power Association’s award for the most solar-friendly, investor-owned utility. The southern power company has bucked convention and taken responsibility to build the largest and fastest-growing voluntary renewable energy portfolio in the nation, which tripled the utility’s solar resources in less than two years.

Georgia, unlike its surrounding areas, has embraced solar with a passion seldom seem outside of California. Instead of bowing to traditional fossil fuel power, Georgia Power’s commitment to solar has bucked local philosophy and solidified solar as a price-parity player in the local energy market.

In accepting the award, Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers (left in above photo) said, “We continue to cultivate solar resources as part of a balanced, diverse mix to provide Georgians with clean, reliable and affordable energy now and in the future. We’re honored to receive this award as it recognizes the benefit to customers of Georgia’s constructive regulatory environment and long-standing coordination with the Public Service Commission.”

Georgia Public Service Commission and Georgia Power have approved the addition of 735 MW of solar-generating capacity to be deployed over the coming years. The Advanced Solar Initiative, the power-purchase program used to contract the solar power generation, will procure 425 MW through utility-scale projects and the remainder through distributed generation systems.

Georgia Power’s investments in solar are meant “to spur economic growth within the solar community in Georgia while offering pricing that encourages more renewable development and avoids any upward rate pressure and reliability impacts to Georgia Power customers,” according to its website.

The utility’s voluntary inclusion of solar power at such high levels demonstrates how dual goals of economically-sound power production and clean, renewable energy can be achieved. After all, where there’s sun, there’s power.

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