Georgia, which is ranked 7th in the nation for solar installations, has already experienced the workforce and economic benefits of a thriving solar industry. The state is home to nearly 200 solar companies and supports approximately 4,500 jobs. Further, Georgia has seen $4.9 billion in investments from the solar industry and projections show the state can add almost 2,000 megawatts of solar over the next five years.
“Georgia took significant steps in expanding renewable energy development across the state today,” says Will Giese, Southeast Regional Director at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The solar and storage additions to Georgia Power’s integrated resource plan will help ease the inflation pinch on Georgia families through the procurement of stable, low-cost clean energy. While the Commission missed an important opportunity to expand the state’s net metering pilot, it’s encouraging to see them create a distributed generation working group. In the face of rising energy prices, we will continue to advocate for solutions that expand clean energy access to all Georgia ratepayers.”
The 2022 IRP was released in January and was a revelation — Georgia Power would close nine coal-burning units and three oil-burning units by 2028 and all coal plants by 2035. Meanwhile, the utility would grow solar capacity from 3% to 40% of its portfolio, making sunshine the utility’s second biggest source of energy.
State regulators unanimously approved Georgia Power’s 2022 Integrated Resources Plan, or IRP, on Thursday, which includes retiring all of its coal plants by 2028, with the exception of two units from Plant Bowen totaling nearly 1,600 MW.
The Georgia Public Service Commission will re-evaluate Bowen Unit 1 and 2 in the next IRP, scheduled for 2025. As Georgia Power’s fleet transitions from coal, regulators also approved 2.3 GW of solar to be procured by 2025 and nearly 2.4 GW of natural gas power purchase agreements, as proposed by the utility.
The public is finally demanding cheap solar and PSC is caving.