With the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act taking effect on Wednesday, big things are in store for solar in the state. Georgia distributed solar is poised to take off, and this is good news for installers.In fact, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Georgia is expected to have its best year ever for solar installations. According to the report, the state can expect to have 400 MW of installed capacity by the end of 2015, enough to power over 43,000 homes.
This is not your mother’s solar. It is a departure from solar in Georgia in the past, with has occurred mostly at the utility scale. Under the new law, more installations will be more commercial and residential scale.
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, said, “At the rate it’s going, Georgia will quadruple the amount of new solar capacity added this year compared to 2014…. Georgia is now on pace to install 235 MW of new solar capacity this year alone. That’s a huge jump – 10 times more than was installed in Georgia in 2011.”
Mr. Resch credits forward-thinking policies for the change. He says, “Clearly, smart public policies, like the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Georgia’s new consensus legislation, will provide a tremendous boost to the state’s economy, generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year in economic activity. We applaud Gov. Deal, Rep. Dudgeon and all of the stakeholders for championing this important legislation, which we believe will serve as a model for other states to follow.”
The report found that $30 million was invested in Georgia in the first quarter of this year in new solar installations – and more than $110 million since the beginning of 2014. From a jobs perspective, there are 173 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Georgia, employing more than 2,900 people, representing manufacturers, contractors, project developers, distributors and installers.
“Because of the strong demand for solar energy, thousands of new, good-paying jobs are expected to be added in Georgia in the coming years, benefiting the state’s economy and environment,” Resch said.
With 2015 being a game-changing year for Georgia, perhaps the state will follow in Hawaii’s footsteps and go 100 percent renewable.