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Georgia Solar Slowdown as Georgia Power Program Reaches Cap

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Georgia Solar Slowdown as Georgia Power Program Reaches Cap

Atlanta, GA – The rapid adoption of solar energy systems by Georgia home and business owners under Georgia Power’s ‘Monthly Net Metering’ program is about to grind to a halt and could threaten solar jobs in the state. When the Public Service Commission established the program in 2019 it placed a cap on the number of customers that could benefit from monthly netting. That cap has now been reached and it happened much more quickly than anyone anticipated. 

“For the first time in state history, Georgia Power customers with solar panels on their homes or businesses can get full credit for energy exported to the utility,” said Montana Busch co-Chair of the GA Solar Energy Association (GA Solar) and CEO of Alternative Energy Southeast, headquartered in Athens. “This policy has helped to create hundreds of new jobs in one year. If the PSC’s cap stands we will lose many of these good paying jobs”.

Monthly Net Metering is a basic utility policy which credits solar customers at the retail rate for the solar energy fed back into the grid, required in Georgia’s 2001 Co-Generation and Distribution Act. An analysis provided by the Southern Environmental Law Center shows monthly-net metering as an industry-standard utility solar policy.  Under Monthly Net Metering, customers essentially get credited the full retail value of their solar (up to their monthly usage) instead of the wholesale rate (⅕ of the avg. retail rate) Georgia Power previously credited for all solar exports.

Georgia Power’s monthly net metering program was created as a part of the 2019 Public Service Commision (PSC) Rate Case with the support of GA Solar. The Public Service Commission added a cap of 5,000 customers or 32MW of capacity, whichever comes first. Under this program, rather than instantly crediting a customer's excess solar generation at wholesale prices, the utility uses excess solar power to offset consumption, thereby further reducing the customer's bill. 

“The pilot monthly net metering program has been a big success for Georgia Power customers and the growing solar industry” said Russell Seifert, CEO of Creative Solar USA in Kennesaw Georgia “We’ve been in the State for 13 years and the adoption of the monthly net metering program for Georgia Power was a signal to us that Georgia was finally becoming a mature solar market. Now isn’t the time to put a cap on Georgia’s solar opportunity. Neighboring southern states already have many times more than Georgia Power’s 5000 customers with on-site solar: South Carolina with over 20,000; Florida with almost 60,000.”

Georgia’s Solar Industry has added dozens of new companies and thousands of new solar installations under the program in 2021. Now that the caps have been met, Georgia Power customers interested in solar energy will only be able to recoup wholesale power costs from excess energy they produce.  If the Public Service Commission does not extend the program the Georgia Solar Energy Association warns that hundreds of solar jobs are at risk as companies re-evaluate their presence in the state.

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Monthly Netting Webinar Recap

Thanks to the participation of PSC Commissioner, Tim Echols, PSC Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Manager, Jamie Barber, and Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney, Kurt Ebersbach we were able to learn a few things that we didn’t know before the webinar. Below is a recap of the webinar including some things we learned and a few things we are still waiting for clarification on, video of the webinar in its entirety, and some FAQs that help clarify some nuances of the new compensation program. 

 

What we learned: 

  • Georgia Power customers that were on the Renewable Non-renewable tariff (“RNR”) prior to January, 1 2020 will begin to see credits on their bill in July and retroactive to the January billing cycle. Customers that switch to RNR will begin to see credits on their bill in July and retroactive to when they switched. 

  • Customers on a Time-of-Use (“TOU”) rate plan will receive peak-hour credit for generation exported during peak hours.

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Georgia Solar Energy Association Lauds Improved Compensation for Rooftop Solar

 

Georgia Solar Energy Association Lauds Improved Compensation for Rooftop Solar

 Atlanta, GA – The Georgia Solar Energy Association applauds a new compensation program for Georgia Power customers that install their own solar. This program could improve the ROI for onsite solar investments.

The program, available to 5,000 Georgia Power solar customers or 32Mw, whichever comes first, will credit them at a higher rate for the energy they feed to the grid. This is made possible by what is referred to as “Monthly Netting of Energy.” Under this program, rather than instantly crediting a customer’s excess solar generation at wholesale prices, the utility will use it to offset consumption, thereby further reducing the customer's bill. That means residential solar customers could receive $400+ annually in additional savings over the current compensation formula.

Requirements, procedures and applications for the program are currently being developed.

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