Skip to toolbar

Georgia on solar’s mind

Courtesy GSEA

“Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through

Just an old sweet song

Keeps Georgia on my mind”

You probably know the Ray Charles song. The Solar Energy Industries Association is singing it now. The trade group says Georgia sun is a major, untapped resource. Some of the best rays in the country, even the world, shine down on the state.

Georgia has another distinction, as a primary user and generator of coal-fired electricity in the United States, in part due to the energy-intensive wood and paper products industries centered there, the Energy Information Administration says.

But, done right, rooftop solar alone could generate more than a quarter of the power needs for Georgia, or more than nuclear does today, according to SEIA, the U.S. trade association for solar energy and related businesses.

The expansion of more than two dozen existing solar companies in Georgia could create hundreds of new jobs, too, says Association CEO Rhone Resch.

Georgia has its own Solar Energy Association, with more than 140 members.

Leaders with the group say the state lags behind others that offer incentives for solar energy, and is losing sun jobs and revenue to states like North Carolina, New Jersey and Florida. The group is pushing a solar-only tax credit, with hopes of being in the Top Ten in America by 2012.

Have any Question or Comment?

One comment on “Georgia on solar’s mind

The key word in this article is “Potential” which is vastly different from “ability” or “will”. While the sun is plentiful, public attitudes and policy are dictated by corporate interests including Southern Company and rural tree farmers who sell their product to pulp mills and biomass plants. Georgia is #9 in “renewable” energy but 96% of it involves cutting down trees at the height of their oxygen producing life, trucking them to centers where they are ground up and burned to spin turbines. The governor and legislature are mostly from the rural, backward counties (GA is rated 47th in educational effectiveness and 44th in overall energy efficiency) and have vested interests in coal fired plants and factory tree farming. An example of renewable attitudes are the projects funded by State Energy Program, which include funding 500 surveillance cameras for the city of Atlanta and increasing narcotic enforcement efforts. The state tax credit for renewable projects is limited to $4M, and there is no allocation process for applicants to know if and when their applications will be granted. The state tax credit, which must be applied for after installation, is a huge gamble, making it difficult for investors to get surety to offer PPAs or creative financing. There is no state RPS or feed-in tariff, and the GA Power renewable buyback program is limited to 1 MW TOTAL for the state. When a SVP of Georgia Power can say “You’ll pry coal out of our cold, dead hands” at a public meeting without reprisal, you realize the entrenched mindsets and political power you are fighting. GSEA has very limited funds but is finally focused on changing legislative policy. We need environmentally friendly candidates in the house and senate, in the Public Service Commission, in the governor’s mansion and representing us in Washington, or else we will miss out on attracting green jobs, investment and even adoption of proven renewable technology. All is not lost, but it will be a long uphill slog towards a greener future for the state.

Comments are closed for this post !!