Georgia Power Firmly Resists Proposed Community Solar Program

Georgia Power clashes with the Homegrown Solar Act, opposing a shift to community solar as the debate on energy democratization continues.

Alicia C. Nelson


Alicia C. Nelson


Mar 6, 2024

Georgia Power Firmly Resists Proposed Community Solar Program

Georgia Power Firmly Resists Proposed Community Solar Program

In the state of Georgia, a significant clash is unfolding over the future of solar energy accessibility. As reported by PV Mag, proposed legislation aimed at cultivating a market for community solar is facing staunch opposition from Georgia Power. While the state boasts a strong record in utility-scale solar installations, it lags significantly in adopting distributed solar solutions like rooftop and community solar systems.

The "Homegrown Solar Act," which seeks to initiate community solar programs, would permit subscribers to receive bill credits in exchange for investing in local solar projects' capacity. Advocates of the act argue this expansion into community solar could yield financial savings for participants and diversify the state's energy portfolio. Meanwhile, Georgia Power denounces the act as unnecessary, asserting that it poses a "cost shift" that would unfairly burden non-solar utility customers with higher rates.

Contention Surrounds Solar Proposal

Despite Georgia's prominence in large-scale solar endeavors, the state's distributed solar market remains underdeveloped. Proponents see the act as an opportunity to democratize energy, enhance grid resilience, and provide a counter to the monopolized power market by broadening local solar access to more citizens. However, the utility contends that the proposed bill seeks to remedy a non-existent issue and could lead to greater grid maintenance costs for those not participating in the solar program.

National studies suggest that the purported "cost shift" claimed by Georgia Power might be minimal. In fact, distributed solar could potentially offer system-wide cost advantages to those not utilizing solar power. Furthermore, the bill includes provisions that would allow the utility to impose fees if evidence supports the presence of a cost shift caused by the community solar program.

Georgia's Energy Challenge and Solar Potential

Georgia Power, anticipating an electricity shortfall by Winter 2025, has proposed the addition of new oil and gas plants and the continued operation of existing coal plants as a solution. Critics suggest a pivot toward embracing community solar could be a more cost-effective strategy for addressing the impending deficit. This sentiment reflects the broader trend in the energy industry, where solar power has emerged as the most economical option for new electricity generation across numerous markets in the United States.

As regional solar advocates urge for a swift adoption of the "Homegrown Solar Act" to combat the looming energy shortfall, the legislation's pathway remains uncertain. Both the state Senate and House are reviewing corresponding bills, and a key deadline looms for clearing at least one chamber to progress towards potential approval.

Source: PV Mag

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