Georgia Power goes solar, creates largest voluntary solar portfolio

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has voted unanimously in support of a plan proposed by Georgia Power, to create the largest voluntarily developed solar portfolio from an investor-owned utility. The Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (GPASI), will give Georgia Power 210 megawatts of additional solar capacity through long term contracts over a two-year period.

To meet the target of 210 megawatts, Georgia Power’s Utility Scale program will purchase 60 megawatts annually for two years through a competitive RFP program with projects ranging in size from 1-20 megawatts. By as early 2013, a Distributed Scale program will provide opportunities for up to 45 megawatts per year of smaller solar projects with specific reservations for Small Scale (less than 100 kW) and Medium Scale (100-1,000 kW) projects.

RFPs for the Utility Scale program will be conducted in 2013 and 2014 and require commercial operation dates in 2015 and 2016. Georgia Power could begin signing solar contracts under the Distributed Scale program as early first quarter of 2013.

The company moved to a Green Power Program in 2003, with the specific goal of increasing solar-based power throughout the state over the near term. Under current contracts, the company will be able to power 7600 homes with solar – that number is expected to grow through this new initiative. The company also maintains its own solar research and development program.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties. As part of the new solar initiative, the company also launched a website which provides the public with information and resources on solar power and renewable energy.