Georgia Power creates initiative to acquire 210 MW of solar

Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), Sept. 26 filed a new solar initiative called the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (GPASI). If approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission, it would aim to acquire 210 MW of additional solar capacity through long-term contracts over a three-year period.

To help meet that target, Georgia Power’s Utility Scale program would purchase 60 MW a year for three years through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) program with projects ranging from 1 to 20 MW in size. By 2013 at the earliest, a Distributed Scale program would provide opportunities for up to 10 MW per year of smaller solar projects with specific reservations for small-scale projects less than 100 kW and medium-scale projects between 100 and 1,000 kW.

"We believe the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative will encourage new opportunities for solar development in our state and catapult us to the forefront of this clean, safe energy technology," said Georgia Power President and CEO Paul Bowers. "This initiative builds upon our record of maintaining not only one of the nation's safest and most reliable electric systems at rates below the national average, but one of the most innovative as well. We will continue to build a diverse generation portfolio that utilizes the most cost effective and advanced technologies to benefit our customers."

RFPs for the Utility Scale program will be conducted in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and require commercial operation dates in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Georgia Power could begin signing solar contracts under the Distributed Scale program as early as first quarter of 2013.

“We are encouraged by the news that Georgia Power has taken a first step towards realizing Georgia’s vast potential for solar energy that to date has gone largely untapped,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). "Georgia Power’s initiative demonstrates that solar is a trusted and reliable energy source and has an important role in achieving fuel source diversity.”

Developed in cooperation with the PSC, the GPASI will complement the company's existing solar resources, which include leading-edge research and demonstration projects and a 50 MW Large Scale Solar program already in place.

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