Georgia Power begins work on 90 MW PV projects

Construction on 90 MW worth of PV projects is underway in the U.S. state of Georgia. Located at three U.S. army bases – Fort Stewart near Savannah, Fort Benning near Columbus and Fort Gordon near Augusta – the plants are scheduled for completion by the end of next year.

Collaborating with both the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force, Georgia Power will build, own and operate the PV plants. Overall, it plans to have a solar portfolio totaling 900 MW by 2016. Last December, it was announced that Georgia regulators had approved 515 MW of power purchase agreements.

In 2011, the utility filed a Large-Scale Solar proposal with the Public Service Commission to purchase up to 50 MW of solar power. According to its website, Simon Solar Farm, LLC built a 30 MW project near Social Circle, and Solar Design and Development, LLC will build solar projects totaling 19 MW on sites in Mitchell, Meriwether and Upson counties. They are required to be operational by this June 1.

Under its the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (GPASI), meanwhile, the utility is aiming to procure 210 MW of solar via two programs: the utility-scale RFP program; and the 2015/2016 Distributed Generation Program.

In 2013, Georgia Power was required to include an additional 525 MW of solar generation in its forward planning strategy by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), backed by a coalition of right-wing activists and environmentalists. The amended motion requires 260 MW be brought online by 2015, and 265 MW by 2016. The new solar generation will comprise 100 MW of distributed generation and 425 MW of utility scale solar.

In its latest Utility Solar Market Snapshot, the U.S. Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) finds that that the state of Georgia has a cumulative installed solar capacity of just 108 MW across 1,016 systems. This is far behind state leader, California, which has an installed capacity of 8.6 GW.

It commented, "Look for solar to continue growing into new states as the economics improve in solar’s favor — particularly for utility-scale installations. Large-scale solar plants have been announced for states in regions with newly emerging solar markets." Georgia was mentioned by SEPA as one of these emerging markets.