Atlanta, GA – Mark Bell, chairman of the Georgia Solar Energy Association, praised the Georgia Public Service Commission today for its foresight on expanding solar development in Georgia.
The PSC voted in favor of adding 525 megawatts of solar energy to Georgia Power’s 20-year resources plan during an afternoon meeting. Of that new solar generation, 125 megawatts will be reserved for smaller projects.
“During the IRP hearings, the commissioners heard testimony about the value of solar. We know it can increase business productivity and reduce energy bills for homeowners,” Bell said. “Testimony in Atlanta and Savannah also included Georgia citizens from every political and geographic sector calling on the PSC for a wider variety of energy options.”
The businesses and consumers among GSEA’s membership are pleased to see the new embrace of solar development in Georgia. Commissioner Bubba McDonald’s resolution prompted the inclusion of the new solar resources, which were adopted by the PSC’s vote to include it in Georgia Power’s plan. The enormous success of the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative, approved by the PSC last fall, indicated the pent-up demand for solar energy options in the Georgia market, Bell said.
“The jobs and investment generated by the GPASI are strong indicators of the significant economic boost a greater commitment to increasing solar energy in Georgia will produce,” Bell said.
GSEA strongly favors market-driven policies that will allow solar investments to compete with other options for consumer dollars. Bell said that smaller-scale projects are best suited for maximum economic development potential. GSEA hopes that state policymakers will consider further policy changes to support this type of development.
In many other states where these types of solutions have been enacted, solar development is far outpacing what is happening in Georgia. Driven by falling prices for solar equipment, the U.S. solar market grew 76 percent in 2012, reaching a market value of $11.5 billion in infrastructure alone. The U.S. solar industry now employs more than 100,000 workers and includes 5,600 solar companies. And 2013 is projected to surpass 2012 for solar growth nationwide.
“We believe this vote shows the PSC, as Georgia’s utility regulator of record, is leading us to a better, more robust and economically valuable future with Georgia’s solar potential reflected in its energy portfolio and we thank them for their foresight,” Bell said. “There are additional policy updates that we believe can do even more to enhance our solar development capability. GSEA stands ready to work with our policymakers to craft these effective laws and regulations allowing our state to share in the solar wealth being created nationwide.”
About the Georgia Solar Energy Association: GSEA is a nonprofit organization that promotes the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy in Georgia through education, advocacy and public outreach. GSEA is working to make Georgia a national leader in clean energy and sustainable development. For more information, visit www.gasolar.org.