The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the Georgia Power Co.'s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan along with an amendment that requires an additional 525 MW of new solar generation by 2016.
According to the PSC, the amended plan requires that Georgia Power bring online 260 MW by 2015 and 265 MW by 2016. The new solar generation is to be composed of 100 MW of distributed generation and 425 MW of utility-scale solar and will require competitive bidding.
‘I believe this is the right step to take if we are to encourage the development and use of solar energy,’ says PSC Commissioner Lauren McDonald Jr. ‘This motion is not a mandate but an expansion of Georgia Power's current solar portfolio.’
McDonald had proposed the amendment boosting the utility's existing commitments to acquire solar capacity.
The PSC modified the solar motion by adopting two proposals by Commissioner Stan Wise that require Georgia Power to use an independent evaluator in the bid process and prohibit accepting any bids that exceed the utility's levelized avoided cost for the term of power purchase agreements.
‘Commissioner McDonald's motion adding 525 megawatts of solar to our 20-year energy plan is a hedge against more coal regulation and natural gas price volatility," says Commissioner Tim Echols, who supported the solar motion.
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), also voiced his support for the PSC's decision.
‘SEIA applauds the Georgia PSC for recognizing the benefits Georgia stands to gain from a build-out of solar energy,’ says Resch in a statement. ‘Georgia boasts impressive solar energy potential – ranking 6th in the nation on rooftop solar potential alone – yet it is currently ranked 21st in installed solar capacity among all states. This decision will help Georgia to move up this list and to better realize the economic and environmental benefits solar offers.’