Earlier this week Georgia Power (GA Power), a subsidiary of Southern Co., and the peach state’s largest utility, announced that it filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission to drastically increase the amount of solar power in the state. Under its proposed Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (GPASI) Georgia Power would acquire 210 megawatts of solar capacity through long term contracts over a three-year period.
“If approved, the initiative would create the largest voluntarily developed solar portfolio from an investor-owned utility,” the company said in a press release. If the state accepts the proposal it will more than quintuple the amount of solar Georgia Power currently has. At this point the utility has a 50-megawatt large scale solar program already in place.
“At this point, the PSC staff is reviewing the filing to determine if they will make a recommendation to the PSC to support the proposal as it stands or to make modifications,” said Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) Executive Director Jessica Moore. “We are supporting the process and the staff.”
The company said it developed the initiative with the commission which will decide whether or not to allow the utility to implement the plan. Under the proposal it would issue competitive requests for proposals as early as 2013 and in 2014 and 2015. It would purchase 60 megawatts of long-term solar contracts for utilty-scale projects ranging between 1 and 20 megawatts, with expectation that the projects would come online starting in 2015. In addition, the company would create a distributed solar program for up to 10 megawatts per year of smaller solar projects. It would have small- and medium-scale with small scale projects being less than 100 kilowatts in size and medium sized projects ranging from 100 kilowatts to 1 megawatt.
While supportive of the initiative, GSEA is looking for more distributed generation (DG). “As it is currently outlined, the current filing is largely weighted towards larger projects,” Moore said. “We will be working with the PSC staff and GA Power to make recommended modifications that will allow for more DG to be a part of the program,” she said.