Utility company wants to put solar plant in Putnam Co.



Source: WSBRadio.com

By Marcy Williams

A new utility wants to harness the sun to power Georgia.  

Robert Green, founder of Georgia Solar Utilities hopes the Public Service Commission will approve a 90-megawatt solar power plant in Putnam County over the expected opposition of Georgia Power.  

"One megawatt will service and take care of a Super-Target shopping mall," Green tells WSB.  

He lists the advantage of solar.  

"We don't have fuel costs.  We don't have to maintain big coal-fired generating plants and we don't have any environmental hangovers to deal with," he points out.  

Georgia Power has signed off on a separate 50-megawatt solar plant in Social Circle, which could be online in 2015. 

New Georgia utility pitches solar plant

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

By Dave Williams

A new utility is planning to build a $320 million solar power plant on 2,200 acres adjacent to Georgia Power Co.’s coal-burning Plant Branch near Milledgeville, Ga.


With a generating capacity of 90 megawatts, the new plant would almost double Georgia Power Co.’s 50-megawatt solar energy program.


Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. initially approached Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), with a proposal to build the plant and sell it to Georgia Power through a power-purchasing agreement.


Company to Build 90 MW Solar and Become a Utility

Source: Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange

What to do if you can't interest Georgia Power in building solar? Do it yourself, and do enough so you can be a utility yourself. That's the loophole in the 1973 Electric Territorial Act that FPL and JEA use to burn coal at Plant Scherer in Georgia and export the power to Florida. Now Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. is using the loophole for a better purpose: building almost twice as much solar generation as Georgia Power's meager 50 MW.

Dave Williams wrote for the Atlanta Business Chronicle yesterday, "New Georgia utility pitches solar plant: A new utility is planning to build a $320 million solar power plant on 2,200 acres adjacent to Georgia Power Co's coal-burning Plant Branch near Milledgeville, Ga."



Project to Boost Solar Power in State

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Kristi Swartz

When it comes to electricity from the sun, Georgia has largely remained in the dark.

But a proposal is in the works to boost the amount of sun-powered electricity, and it comes from two unlikely sources: Georgia Power and one of the state utility regulators.

The utility has been reluctant to add solar to the grid, saying it is too pricey and would raise customer bills. The Public Service Commission has shied away from making Georgia Power get more electricity from renewable sources for the same reason.

But a behind-the-scenes effort by Georgia Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton and Georgia Power has led to a project that will give Georgians more opportunities to buy solar power. Few details were available, but the project will be “significantly” larger than the 50 megawatts of solar electricity Georgia Power must have on the grid by 2015, Eaton said. One megawatt of solar can provide electricity for one large department store, such as a Super Target.

“I’ve been working with Georgia Power over the last couple of months to get more solar in the marketplace and do it in a manner that does not put upward pressure on rates,” Eaton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The price of solar has come down dramatically.”

Georgia Power said it has been “working with the PSC for the past several months to find new ways to responsibly add more solar to our mix without causing rates to go up for customers.

“We have been and will continue to look at ways to incorporate cost-effective resources into our generation portfolio,” the company said.

The efforts are a sea change for the state, which, along with the Southeast, lags in getting electricity from renewable fuels. Georgia Power’s parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., gets 2 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including hydroelectricity. California, in contrast, gets 47 percent, Florida 4 percent and North Carolina 2 percent, according to the most recent data, for 2011, from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Georgia Power devised a plan to get 50 megawatts of its power from solar energy last year after state utility regulator Bubba McDonald asked the company to do so. But the utility, along with state electric cooperatives, successfully lobbied in the state legislature against allowing consumers to lease solar panels from a private company with the help of bank financing.

Unlike traditional power plants that produce several hundred or thousand megawatts of electricity that travels over long power lines, solar systems typically are much smaller and are built on or near a home or business. The proposed project for Georgia Power would likely follow that model, with the utility buying solar electricity from other companies through competitive bidding, Eaton said.

“It would be from all of the solar companies that were out there,” Eaton said.

One company, Georgia Solar Utilities, is eager to sell solar energy in the state and has proposed building an 80MW solar farm in Putnam County. Company executives presented the plan to the PSC at its energy committee meeting Thursday morning. By law, the company is forbidden to compete with Georgia Power or any other utility in the state.

Solar panels cloud energy firms' growth

by: Giles Parkinson

Source: The Australian

RWE is Germany's second-biggest energy utility. It earns more than $60 billion a year from the sale of electrons produced mostly from its remaining nuclear plants, coal and gasfired generation and a little bit of wind.

But when new chief executive Peter Terium hosted his first annual profit announcement this week, it was clear what was top of his mind: the rise of solar PV (photovoltaic).

 "Our core markets are changing remarkably fast," he said. 

And although the decision to phase out nuclear represents a fundamental change in baseload generation, it is the penetration of solar PV - now at 32GW and rising fast - that is turning the energy model upside down, turning consumers into "pro-sumers" and delivering enormous challenges to utilities like his. 

"Almost no other industry is currently undergoing such dynamic change as the energy sector," he said. 

"The success of this transformation of the energy industry will be decided at the local level."