More Solar For All, Y'all!
FROM THE DESK OF THE CHAIRMAN
Where Does the Solar Market Go From Here?

In May, Georgia experienced an energy watershed. There was a massive solar spill in South Georgia. Photons reached an all-time high and the overflow was uncontainable. No one suffered, no environmental impact occurred, and no lingering effects ensued. All affected communities continued to function normally. This overflow of excess photons is known as a Sunny Day, and we have 215 of them a year, on average, here in Georgia.

This edition of the eNews contains many articles about how adaptable solar energy has become and the economic impact it has contributed over the last decade. Jobs, jobs, jobs! You hear this a lot, but data and documented examples now abound showing the variety of applications for solar energy and how much this contributes to prosperity and productivity. In just the last year alone, the Jinko Solar plant in Jacksonville, FL, has begun production, the Hanwha Q-Cells plant in Dalton, GA, is up and running, and SK Batteries’ $1.7 billion plant in Commerce, GA, is under construction. READ MORE
Pay of Skeptical (Southern Company) CEO Linked to Greenhouse Gas Reductions
(Southern Company) CEO Tom Fanning … rejected overwhelming scientific understanding in 2017 when he said on CNBC it “certainly” wasn’t proven that carbon dioxide, a pollutant that spews from some of the company’s power plants, is the primary driver of climate change.
 
But, whether he’s convinced of the emissions harm or not, Fanning now has a personal financial stake in reducing them. Southern’s board of directors recently disclosed it plans to link part of his pay to success in making further cuts in greenhouse gases discharged by Georgia Power, AGL and other holdings of the Atlanta-based company. LEARN MORE
SOLAR = ENERGY INDEPENDENCE!

Georgia gets lots of sunshine, and we have lots of solar -- solar farms that is. Many states with solar have an 80/20 mix. That is, 80% solar farms and 20% rooftop solar, or solar at our individual homes & businesses. Georgia is 97% solar farms, or solar that feeds directly into the grid, and ONLY 3% rooftop solar OR solar that saves us $$$ on our utility bills. We want more solar for all, y'all!


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How Walmart Boosted Clean Energy Policy in Georgia
Georgia just signed into law a bill that shows the power corporations can have in creating clean energy markets.

Walmart, which has more than  200  locations in Georgia and is striving to be powered by  100 percent r enewable energy by 2025, worked with bill advocates at the Georgia capital, supporting the legislation in both the House and Senate. And, when the bill was signed into law May 6, Glen Wilkins, a public affairs director at Walmart, appeared at the side of Gov. Brian Kemp. LEARN MORE
GEORGIA SOLAR ENERGY ASSOCIATION -- MISSION
To advance the sustainable economic and environmental benefits of solar energy for Georgia through education, advocacy, community and industry support.
2nd Camilla Solar Project Under Construction
Construction has begun on a 160-megawatt solar farm in Mitchell County. The project will generate enough electricity to power more than 30,000 American homes every year.

The project will create 400 jobs at peak construction .... In addition to the investment to build the project, (Mitchell County will receive) an estimated $12 million into the local economy in the first 10 years of operation through tax payments, lease payments to participating landowners, and wages and benefits for employees. LEARN MORE

Sun Gets Second Job at Georgia Vineyard: Powering Winery
Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland, a 200-acre family-owned winery, completed the installation of solar panels expected to provide about 60% of the total energy used annually for operations ranging from lighting or bottling to cooling its buildings.

It’s the first winery in Georgia to implement a major solar power initiative with the goal of countering its carbon footprint, and the only winery in the Southeast with a program of this size.... Many of the factors that are required for successful operation of a winery — warm temperatures, plenty of sunlight and lots of open land — are also ideal for solar installations .... LEARN MORE
The U.S. Has Surpassed 2 Million Solar Installations!
The first million took 40 years,
the second million took two years, and the third million will arrive two years from now!



According to Wood Mackenzie and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the United States reached 2 million cumulative solar installations in February of this year, only three years after reaching one million installations in February 2016. LEARN MORE

Solar Power Gets Cheaper, More Popular in Georgia
While finishing the first of the next generation of nuclear reactors built in America, Georgia Power Co. is planning to add a gigawatt of solar power generation in the next three years as it shutters five more coal-fired units under its 3-year power plan submitted to state regulators.

But regulators are likely to push Georgia's biggest utility to do even more with solar generation while bringing on two more units at its Plant Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant. LEARN MORE
Energy Freedom and Solar’s Strategy for the South
The solar industry has just won a major victory with the passage of the Energy Freedom Act in South Carolina. But is this victory replicable in other Southern states? This major win for solar policy comes in a state where the Republican Party holds majorities in both houses of the state’s legislature and sends bills to a Republican governor.

The Solar Energy Industry Association's (SEIA) Maggie Clark emphasizes that the Energy Freedom Act was about reforming market rules. “This was a way to provide a program that did not provide subsidies or incentives in any way, but to really open the market to competition,” explains Clark. “I think that appealing to conservatives in the South about energy independence and resiliency and ultimately cost savings is the winning message on this issue.” READ MORE

‘Land No One Else Wants’ Gets Solar as Coal, Nukes Fade Away
BLOOMBERG: For two decades, coal has been pulled from a Bent Mountain mine in eastern Kentucky. But in a startling move in the heart of coal country, a rival -- solar -- is preparing to move on to the land.

From Appalachia in the U.S. to Queensland in Australia and Chernobyl in Ukraine, solar and wind farms are being developed or built in places not normally associated with clean energy, and in some regions long resistant to it .... Slapping solar panels atop so-called brownfield sites, land that housed mines, emissions-belching power plants or were tarnished by nuclear disaster, can be cheaper than decontaminating the ground and turning it into parkland. READ MORE

US Solar Power Industry Set For Massive Growth In Next 5 Years
International Business Times: By any objective standards, the state of the U.S. solar industry today can be described as vibrant and robust. Due to rapidly expanding environmental awareness by individuals and government, and the continual and dramatic declines in the cost of solar installations, the solar industry has witnessed rapid and steady growth for over a decade. And all reliable indicators forecast an unprecedented boom in the solar industry through and most likely beyond 2024.

…. the  Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) noted that the “Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has provided industry stability and growth since its initial passage in 2006. In the last decade, solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 50 percent.” READ MORE
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Individuals, Nonprofits, Corporations, Cities, Counties, Come One Come All!

How Atlanta Plans to Get to 100 Percent Green Energy by 2035
Like any other city, Atlanta is woven with power lines, trams and buses. The electricity that makes Atlanta run comes mostly from coal, natural gas and nuclear energy. Only 6% to 8% comes from renewable sources.
 
"Obviously, going from that number to 100% by 2035 is a bold goal," said Amol Naik, Atlanta's chief resilience officer.
 
He says the green energy plan, approved by the Atlanta City Council in March - which aims to get to 100% green in 16 years - is "ambitious and achievable". But, he admits, there's no easy path to get there. LEARN MORE
100 Percent Clean Energy: The New Normal
Five states -- plus Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and over 120 cities -- are committed to moving to 100 percent clean energy, with several others also considering legislation to get off fossil fuels. In Georgia, Athens-Clarke County, Atlanta, Augusta and Clarkston are leading the way with 100 percent clean and renewable energy goals.

And this local action shows no sign of slowing. In April, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boise, and Missoula set their own 100 percent goals, showing how leadership is happening across the country and at multiple levels of government. Illinois might pass a 100 percent target soon. (And) of course California and Hawaii already have .... LEARN MORE

The poultry industry contributes over $18.4 billion to the Georgia economy each year.

105 of 159 counties produce over $1 million worth of poultry products each year.

On an average day Georgia produces 26 million pounds of chicken and 9.2 million eggs.

The annual production from an average Georgia poultry farm could feed over 22,000 people per year. WATCH VIDEO

— The number of GA farms using renewable energy producing systems -- mostly using solar panels -- more than doubled from 343 farms in 2012 to 946 in 2017. READ MORE

The 3 Main Trends Driving the Imminent Solar Energy Revolution
Residential solar has exploded over the past decade. Data from the Solar Foundation showed in February that a residential install cost $6.65 per watt in 2010, a figure which had dropped to $2.89 per watt by 2018. Tesla, which now owns SolarCity, announced in April that it was dropping panel prices even further, as low as $1.75 per watt in some cases. These price cuts come as it ramps up production on new products, like solar roof tiles and its Powerwall battery than can store solar energy and provide it at all times of day.

TRENDS: First, companies will make installations easy to buy. Second, governments will begin legislating to mandate solar on new houses. Third, solar firms will attract their existing customers to smart home tools and other means of saving energy. Exactly where are we on this continuum? LEARN MORE

Solar Ready Homes Could be Atlanta's Next Step Toward 100 Percent Clean, Renewable Energy
Georgians already know that the way we currently produce and consume energy is harmful to us now, and that it threatens our future. We see the lasting damage being caused by burning fossil fuels every day, from coastal ecosystems wrecked by massive oil spills to polluted air that threatens the health of our communities.

.... A 2016 study by the National Renewable Energy Lab found that rooftop solar alone could provide up to 39 percent of the nation’s electricity if panels were installed on every suitable roof. And solar energy is more efficient and affordable than ever before. READ MORE

“Solar in the Southeast” Report Shows Corporate Leadership Drives the Region’s Solar Expansion
As solar energy development continues to expand in the Southeast, with projections for future growth higher than last year’s forecast, the growth patterns remain varied depending on specific location and policies taking shape from state to state.

The “ Solar in the Southeast 2018 Annual Report from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) ... highlights solar data and trends throughout the region, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Report Highlights: 1) C orporate leadership is playing a big role in driving new solar capacity, with major project announcements from corporations including Facebook, Google, Target, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson. 2) Florida is emerging as a regional leader, now forecast to surpass North Carolina in solar capacity by 2022. LEARN MORE
Energy Report: Walton EMC Leads in Solar Power Development
Walton Electric Membership Corporation is leading all Southeast utilities in solar power development, according to a newly published report by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE).

In its 2018 annual report, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) recognized Walton EMC as the region’s top utility developer of major solar projects …. Walton EMC earned the top rank on the report’s SunRiser list, which identifies the utilities experiencing the greatest solar energy growth. Walton EMC landed at the top of the SunRiser list by executing power purchase agreements with three major solar projects to support a new Facebook data center.  LEARN MORE

Fort Valley State University and Georgia Power Announce Solar Initiative
HBCU - Fort Valley State University (FVSU) announced that Georgia Power will develop and construct an 11 megawatts, fixed-tilt solar generation facility located on the FVSU campus. It will serve as a living laboratory for FVSU professors and students who will help to build Georgia’s energy future. The solar farm will cover approximately 107 acres of land owned by the university, controlled by the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents and leased by Georgia Power.

FVSU will also leverage its expertise in energy education programs to partner with Georgia Power to provide students with a hands-on experience during project development and operation. LEARN MORE
America's Top Colleges for Renewable Energy
America’s colleges and universities are leading the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system. Small liberal arts colleges, large public universities and community colleges alike, from every corner of the U.S., are taking the lead in reducing energy consumption, deploying renewable energy technologies, and switching to electric vehicles.
 
The nation’s leading campuses for clean energy - from the University of Minnesota, Morris to Southwestern University in Texas - are setting a strong example for other colleges and the nation as a whole to follow. More than 40 colleges and universities now obtain 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy sources. READ MORE

The U.S. Energy Storage Market Will Nearly Double This Year
The combination of solar plus storage is super-charging the deployment of batteries across the country, and IHS Markit says that the United States will become the largest market for grid-tied energy storage this year.

Energy storage is increasingly finding its place in the sun. As a technology, it simply offers too many advantages and meets too many needs to be overlooked: it can ramp faster than a gas plant, it can stabilize voltage and frequency, and it can carry electrons from solar generation to deliver power after dark. When you add to this the dramatic cost declines for lithium-ion batteries, the combination becomes unstoppable. LEARN MORE

New Report Analyzes Solar + Storage Effectiveness in Storm-Ravaged U.S. Southeast
Solar and battery storage technologies that provide clean, reliable backup power are cost-effective for many critical community facilities in the Southeast, according to Clean Energy Group’s report series, “Resilient Southeast: Exploring Opportunities for Solar + Storage in Five Southeastern Cities,” released in partnership with regional nonprofit partners.

The report details a first-of-its-kind economic analysis evaluation for solar PV and battery storage (solar-plus-storage) in the region. When the economic value of resilience is accounted for, solar-plus-storage was proven to be a positive investment for all locations and building types examined. LEARN MORE
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