The Georgia Public Service Commission, in a 5-0 vote, approved Georgia Power's new solar initiative -- the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative. The initiative creates the largest voluntarily developed solar portfolio from an investor-owned utility. Through GPASI, Georgia Power will acquire 210 MW of additional solar capacity through long term contracts over a two-year period.
To meet the target of 210 MW, Georgia Power's Utility Scale program will purchase 60 MW annually for two years through a competitive request-for-proposal program with projects ranging in size from 1 MW to 20 MW. By as early 2013, a distributed-scale program will provide opportunities for up to 45 MW 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 GPASI complements the company's existing solar resources, which include research and demonstration projects and a 50 MW Large Scale Solar program already in place.
Since the creation of the company's Green Energy Program in 2003, which enables customers to support and foster the growth of renewable energy resources, Georgia Power has consistently pursued opportunities to grow solar in the state. Through various initiatives, including the Large Scale Solar Program approved in 2011, Georgia Power has worked closely with the PSC to add solar economically to its portfolio. There are currently 61.5 MW under contract – enough green energy to power approximately 7600 homes.
Additionally, Georgia Power recently launched a new "solar energy expert" initiative and web site that provides comprehensive information and personalized assistance for customers interested in learning more about solar energy.
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.