Albany and Dougherty County are now ready to encourage the installation of solar energy systems. On Tuesday night, city commissioners amended the zoning ordinance to include solar systems. The ordinance is the same as one passed recently by the county. It lists standards for the construction of solar panels at homes and businesses.
A Massachusetts energy company and officials from Jenkins County and the city of Millen on Friday put an additional 28-megawatts of electricity into the power grid from a 233-acre solar array built on a former dairy farm. The $45 million project, developed by Boston-based Citizens Energy Corp., is one of the largest investments in the county in recent years. About 250 construction jobs were created by the project. Known as the Old Midville Solar Project, the utility-scale array is expected to add $250,000 annually to county tax revenues.
Across the force, the Army is looking for ways to mitigate power supply vulnerabilities and increase the resiliency of its installations. For now, Fort Gordon will benefit just indirectly from the solar array, but the goal for the future will be to provide more direct advantages including the ability to store power generated by the array in battery storage, and the ability to distribute that energy directly to the installation with micro-grid technology in the event of a civilian power grid failure.
Down a wooded trail on Deans Bridge Road, there’s a sea of solar panels as far as the eye can see. Georgia Power, Fort Gordon and state officials came together Wednesday to celebrate the project with an official ribbon cutting. “This project is a way we can do our part, and the benefits go far beyond being able to produce cheaper energy,” Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, commanding general of the U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, said at the event. “It allows us to provide a cleaner and safer environment for our kids and grand-kids. As we’ve seen, our continued crucial role as energy leaders will have an immediate impact as well as the cultural shift on how we think about energy, how we acquire energy and how we use energy.” Fifteen months ago, the 270 acres on Fort Gordon where the solar panels sit was just a field, but now it provides 30 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power 4,300 homes per year.
The Solar Foundation ranked Georgia 15th in the nation for solar jobs earlier this year. The state’s approximately 3,000 solar jobs spread over 195 companies were expected to grow at a rate of about 12 percent this year.
Georgia legislators are looking at tweaking a 2015 state law that has so far fallen short of its goal to encourage more people and businesses to install small-scale solar power projects.
Continuing its ascent as a solar powerhouse, Georgia’s electric cooperatives across the state are adding solar to their portfolios. The 41 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) in Georgia are rapidly becoming the next solar frontier in the state through a program called Cooperative Solar. Driven by consumer demand and EMC interest, Green Power EMC created Cooperative Solar to provide the solar energy to the other cooperatives. It allows consumers to subscribe to off-site solar plants, much like community-solar programs in other states.
Lauren “Bubba” McDonald is showing that solar energy is not a partisan issue. McDonald is a lifelong Republican, the chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, and one of the state’s biggest advocates for solar energy.
The city will be adding to its number of active solar panels after the city council approved a proposal at its Oct. 6 meeting to build a solar array, or a group of panels, at both the old and new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plants.
Tri-County EMC, a member-owned electric co-op, announced Thursday that its 1MW community-solar project in Eatonton, Georgia, has reached commercial operation. Tri-County EMC offers low-cost PV energy to its participating member-owners as a credit on their bill.