Solar in Georgia enters new phase

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The 41 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) in Georgia are rapidly becoming the next solar frontier in the state through a program called Cooperative Solar.

Driven by consumer demand and EMC interest, Green Power EMC (GPEMC) created Cooperative Solar, to provide the solar energy to the other cooperatives. It allows consumers to subscribe to off-site solar plants, much like community-solar programs in other states.

Cooperative solar also relieves homeowners and businesses from the expense of installing panels on their own roofs, with the attendant headaches of system maintenance, roof age and condition, orientation and shade-providing trees.

Georgia’s solar revolution, led by the state’s largest utility Georgia Power (GP), began in 2012 after GP introduced its first Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI), and committed to purchase 210 MW in residential, commercial/industrial, and utility-scale twenty-year contracts. And in the 2013, regulators proposed a second ASI for 525 megawatts.

Now GPEMC is helping rural cooperatives bring solar power to areas of the state that might not be able to access solar on their own.

Currently, GPEMC is receiving its solar power from a 20 MW project nearly Hazlehurst, Ga.,  which is located approximately three hours south of Atlanta and two hours west of Savannah. Later this year, GPEMC will add a 52 MW facility.

All but three of the state’s EMCs are currently purchasing solar power generated by GPEMC.