Georgia’s HB 657, Simply Solar


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Georgia legislature just introduced a new bill, HB 657, the Rural Georgia Economic Recovery and Solar Resource Act. This new bill was introduced by Rep. Rusty Kidd (l) late in the session so that lawmakers can study it and think about it for future sessions. Under the proposed legislation, Georgia’s Public Service Commission could allow a solar energy provider operate solar facilities and sell the electricity to Georgia Power, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. It’s about rural solar generation and distribution. However, there is a catch: a “community solar provider” must be certified by the Public Service Commission (PSC) instead of just setting up in business as in most states, and the PSC could certify only one state-wide monopoly;the summary in the front says “an independent community solar provider” as in only one, but the body of the bill says “any”. The bill requires the PSC to study changes in retail rates, but does not require timely public posting of who buys and sells which types of energy at which prices;nevertheless, it’s a good start. HB 657 is clean and simple;it’s just about solar energy (unlike HB 503, for Renewable Portfolio Standards, which includes biomass as a renewable energy source.) Perhaps after there will have been enough installations the benefits of solar will become more obvious and the PSC will certify a lot of community solar providers, including house and business rooftop solar. The main portion of the HB 657 is in Section 1. Section 2, 3, and  4 says community solar provider shall be considered as a customer generator, with energy flows measured the same way, and rates and quantities set the same way. Here is the text of the bill.

The bill would allow third-party ownership of solar in the Peach State, where Southern Co. subsidiary, Georgia Power has had exclusive rights to sell and produce power for 40 years. The legislation would benefit Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. The company is working on developing an 80-megawatt array near Milledgeville. In September of 2012, Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. said it plans to develop a 2-gigawatt portfolio of projects in the state. HB 657 would help to facilitate all of this while staying within the bounds of Georgia’s Territorial Act, which allows Georgia Power its sweeping range throughout the state.  The bill has wary support from the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA). The bill will make it easier for home and business owners in Georgia to go solar, according to Greentech Media’s Adam James. “For starters, the statute clears roadblocks like interconnection and grid access for generating assets, and the entire program is on an opt-in basis,” he writes. He says that competitive bidding will help create market incentives there to help drive down soft costs. “Since PV and solar farms are covered under the statute, neighborhood homes in Atlanta could have solar on the roof while unused fields in the country can host 30-megawatt solar farms.”

Much remains to be seen for the state of Georgia.  But it is certain that the legislature in Georgia is paying attention to their glorious sunshine now.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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