- Georgia has the fastest growing solar market in the country, spurred on by state and federal policies and a new focus on clean energy and its economic benefits to the state. Solar-related jobs in the state grew 225% last year, the Savannah Daily News reports.
- Regulators last year directed Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility, to add 525 MW of solar power by 2016. That decision prompted new initiatives in the state to boost deployment.
- New research finds Georgia attracted $666 million in private clean energy investment from 2009 to 2013 and will generate an additional $4.4 billion over the next decade.
"State and federal policies have helped to make the Peach State the fastest-growing solar market in the country," according to new research by Pew Charitable Trusts.
Several factors have helped Georgia reach its status as a clean-energy leader: abundant biomass and solar resources, falling materials costs, and innovative research, Pew notes.
“Solar is more affordable and efficient than ever, and there are several reasons for this continuing trend,” said James Marlow, president of Radiance Solar in Atlanta. “The cost of solar equipment is much lower, tax incentives now capture the total system installation costs, and the state’s utility industry now sees solar as a flexible, affordable addition to its electric generation resources.”
The state does not have a renewable portfolio standard but does foster clean energy policies that have spurred economic growth, most prominently in solar power, Pew said. The 525 MW solar program, the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative, allows customers to choose electricity from the utility’s solar portfolio. Interconnection guidelines let residential customers who have installed clean energy systems such as wind or solar link to the main electricity grid, and net metering laws allow them to generate electricity from these systems to offset bills from the power company.