Georgia Power has dedicated the first of two planned solar facilities to supply the utility’s new Community Solar program. The 2 MW solar project, comprised of 8,200 panels and covering more than 10 acres in northeast Georgia, will deliver energy for the new program which gives subscribers a bill credit based on actual solar energy production at the facility.
Leaders from Georgia Power, Georgia Public Service Commissioners Lauren “Bubba” McDonald and Tim Echols, and community and business leaders marked the occasion at a special event in Comer, Ga.
“Collaboration between Georgia Power, the Georgia Public Service Commission, solar companies and communities across the state have helped continue to position Georgia as a national solar leader,” says Greg Roberts, vice president pricing and planning for Georgia Power. “Community Solar is the latest addition to a variety of Georgia Power programs that give customers the flexibility to choose how they want to support the growth of solar energy in our state.”
Although the Community Solar program launches in January 2018, Georgia Power opened pre-enrollment for interested customers in October. In addition to the newly dedicated Comer facility, the company plans to construct another 1 MW facility to supply the program in another part of the state.
Designed in coordination with and approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission, the Community Solar program is ideal for residential customers who want to support solar, especially those who are unable to install a solar PV system at their homes, including renters and condominium owners, or homeowners with shaded roof space or restrictive covenants.
The utility says participation in the program will cost $24.99 per 1 kW block per month in exchange for a monthly credit based on a solar facility’s production. Customers are limited to their estimated monthly energy usage – and a maximum of 10 1-kW blocks, with a total of 3,000 blocks available for subscription. The solar production of a 1 kW subscription block will vary due to season, number of cloudy days and other factors, but it is estimated to be in the range of 130 kWh to 240 kWh per month.
Georgia Power’s renewable development strategy includes customer programs such as Simple Solar, as well as large-scale initiatives such as the Advanced Solar Initiative and Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI). The company says it currently has approximately 900 MW of solar capacity in operation, with accelerating growth year-over-year since 2013. Through continued expansion of solar at Georgia military bases, implementation of the new REDI, as well as other solar projects and programs, the company expects to add up to 1,600 MW of additional renewable capacity by 2021.