Recently, a yearly report on development was released by The Southern Alliance for Clean . This report highlighted how solar growth is continuing in the , and that the Southeast region will end up surpassing 10,000 MW this year. It noted the addition of 65 percent for solar growth in 2018, and the prediction is that 19,000 MW will be in effect by 2022. The numbers are impressive, to say the least.  

Solar Expansion in the Southeast 

According to the executive director of , Stephen A. Smith, the second annual solar report establishes the potential which remains for amplified solar expansion in the Southeast.  

Smith discussed how utilizing watts per customer metric allows the ability to know which utilities and states are falling behind when it comes to denying customers solar power. The facts provided by the aforementioned report act as a useful tool as regulators and facilitators alike all over the area progress in their planning for clean energy, such as with solar power.  

The state of ’s leading utility, remains a regional leader in solar. Georgia’s watts per customer solar ratio in 2018 came in at 280, and this number is higher than average in the Southeast (this number sits at 269). Still, there is work to be done so the numbers don’t fall below average in the near future.  

Georgia Public Service Commission could mandate surplus solar expansion in the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (Georgia Power). This is a mandatory plan covering three years – regulators commenced hearings earlier this month, and the goal is to sustain solar leadership in the state of Georgia.  

Georgia Power boasts 426 watts of solar installed per customer, falling behind Duke Energy Progress, which boasts more than 1,620 watts per customer. 

Staying on Top with Solar 

, Public Service Commissioner, mentioned that supremacy in solar might slip over the next two years. However, there is the potential to add one or two gigawatts and stay on top.   

Georgia Power was directed by the  to create an  seven years ago, and this led to the creation of over 700 megawatts of solar. The Department of Defense worked in partnership with Georgia Power in an effort to develop solar on military bases – to the tune of 166 megawatts. The current plan, because of an arrangement with the PSC in 2016, anticipates the addition of 1,600 megawatts of solar, biomass resources and wind by next year.  

Echols mentioned the desire to develop more rooftop solar in GA, especially in areas like Athens and , in order to assist with their clean energy goals. He mentioned helping Atlanta and Athens by upping the limit of buyback costs for rooftop solar and array sizing 

PSC Chairman Lauren McDonald anticipates that there will be more solar than what was suggested by Georgia Power. He foresees more of an effort to increase distributed generation. Whatever measure he puts forward will be supported by Echols.  

Jason Shaw, the newest commissioner, is staying objective. He mentioned having heard from Georgia Power Co. and looking forward to hearing more from interveners. He wants to see Georgia continue to be a solar market leader.  

Utilityscale is supported by The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, in addition to mid-size community solar — such as the Sea Point industrial park ground-mounted array (where thousands of were set up this year).  

There is still work to be done in Georgia as well as across the globe. The state of GA could benefit from hands-on policies such as net metering, as homeowners find that it takes longer to see a return on rooftop solar. 

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy shared that Solar Carolina, for example, will extend net metering. Florida utilities are working to advance community solar programs in an effort to grant access to more customers. There is work to be done everywhere, but think about clean energy efforts taking place by you. Continue to follow solar news and stay in the loop – big things are happening!  

Sources: 

https://www.scnow.com/news/state/wire/article_6839f6b7-ebe4-517b-9e13-239fc822310c.html 

https://www.savannahnow.com/news/20190414/solar-growth-continues-in-savannah-southeast 

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