The Georgia Public Utilities Commission has recently approved an Integrated Resources Plan that calls for the retirement of all but two coal-fired power plants by 2035 and their replacement with natural gas, renewables, and energy storage.
From pv magazine United States
The state-by-state tour of solar incentives now takes us to the South Atlantic states, making a stop in Georgia.
Georgia ranks seventh nationally on the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) solar deployment tracker, with more than 4.3 GW installed to date. The state has more than 4,400 solar jobs, is home to 176 solar companies, and approximately 4% of the state’s total electricity comes from solar power.
Currently, the state has enough solar capacity to power more than 500,000 homes. The SEIA forecasts that the state will install almost 2 GW in the next five years, which places it in 16th place in the country in that period.
The Georgia Public Utilities Commission (PSC) recently approved Georgia Power’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a roadmap for the company that is published every three years. The plan calls for the retirement and decertification of all but two of the company’s coal-fired facilities by 2028, and the replacement of that capacity with 2.3 GW of renewable energy and 500 MW of battery energy storage. And the plan is even more ambitious for the future, with a forecast of 9 GW of renewable energy by 2035.
Georgia Power’s IRP also includes proposals for the creation of distributed energy resources (DER) and community solar with revenue pilot programs. The DER program would allow participating customers to receive resiliency service through a company-owned, operated, and maintained DER. Participating customers may elect to receive a credit in exchange for the utility’s ability to access DER for the benefit of all customers during a system reliability event, such as peak demand reduction or load change.
The Community Solar Pilot Program would provide income-qualified customers with access to energy generated by Community Solar at reduced prices. The discount would be made by the participating corporate sponsors, who would receive the corresponding renewable energy certificates (RECs).
In addition, the PSC unanimously voted to create a “Distributed Generation Working Group.” The group is expected to include representatives from utilities, the solar industry and PSC staff, who will develop recommendations for growing the distributed energy market in Georgia.
The net metering policy was detailed in Georgia Power’s 2019 rate case, allowing the Georgia Public Utilities Commission to offer net metering with monthly compensation to 5,000 rooftop solar customers or 32 MW of capacity, whichever occurs first. Georgia allows net metering on residential systems up to 10 kW or commercial systems up to 100 kW. You can find a complete list of Georgia’s state incentives for solar energy here.
RWE Renewables activated the Hickory Park Solar project, a 195.5 MW solar facility with 40 MW of two-hour battery energy storage. The project is located in Mitchell County, Georgia, and RWE is the operator/manager of the facility, selling renewable power and certificates to the Georgia Power utility through its Renewable Energy Development Initiative program ( REDI). The sale of power to the power company is part of a 30-year power purchase agreement.
The project uses 650,000 solar panels covering 1,800 acres. It has an integrated direct current storage system that allows optimizing the project’s energy performance and increases the predictability of the installation’s energy supply.
Some well-known retailers, such as Anheuser-Busch and Ikea, have done commercial installations. Ikea installed a 1 MW solar system at its Port Wentworth headquarters.
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