Tri-County EMC, a member-owned electric co-op, has announced commercial operation of a 1 MW community solar project in Eatonton, Ga. The project was developed jointly between Tri-County EMC, Georgia Power and United Renewable Energy LLC.
Tri-County EMC says it will provide the low-cost solar energy to its participating member-owners as a credit on their bills. Tri-County EMC was formed in 1939 by farmers and homeowners in Baldwin, Jones and Putnam counties, and it currently serves five additional counties, totaling more than 21,000 accounts. As a co-operative utility, it is owned by its members receiving electric service.
“Many of our members have asked for a solar option,” said Greg Mullis, Tri-County EMC’s senior vice president. “This project makes economic and environmental sense. The low-cost, low-risk development of this project has allowed us to have a solar facility right here in our community that will supply our new ‘ourSolar’ program.”
The ourSolar program allows any member to participate, has no up-front cost associated with it and no long-term contract. The co-op says community solar programs like this are an alternative for any electricity user who does not have a house or business suitable for installing solar panels and for those who want to participate in clean renewable energy programs, without having to purchase or install panels themselves.
The project was developed and will be owned and maintained by Georgia Power, which has a long-standing wholesale relationship with Tri-County EMC. United Renewable Energy LLC, a solar developer, general and electrical contractor with headquarters in Georgia, assisted with the development of the project and provided engineering, procurement, and construction services on behalf of Georgia Power.
“We are honored to serve Tri-County EMC, and this project allows Georgia Power to leverage its nearly 1 GW of experience in solar energy,” said Chris Bell, vice president of Southern Wholesale Energy, the wholesale marketing subsidiary for Georgia Power.
The 10-acre site has over 4,200 solar panels and will generate over 2.1 million kWh per year. The facility is located adjacent to Tri-County EMC’s Eatonton District Office in Putnam County, Ga.