- Georgia Power (GP) unveiled its utility solar offering on Tuesday, introduced in response to the state’s recently-passed solar law. The utility willwill provide customer information through its “Is solar right for me?” website and non-rate based sales and installation services through its unregulated Georgia Power Energy Services business unit.
- The utility is adding two solar experts to help customers decide on solar. First, a website will guide customers through a calculation of estimated savings and an estimated payback term. A solar expert consultation can then provide them precise calculations based on actual utility usage data.
- Customers will be able to take that data to any solar installer, including one from the website’s list of 27 nationally certified providers. Or they can use the unregulated GP Energy Services division to install their solar. GP will not offer loan financing or leasing but will refer customers to a banking partner.
Loan financing or leasing, potentially permitted by the new law, “is an enhancement we might pursue as we see interest and demand,” Georgia Power Renewables Vice President Norrie McKenzie told Utility Dive.
GP Energy Services, which McKenzie called “a separate business unit” and “not paid for or subsidized in any way” by GP customers, will act as general contractor for solar installations but will subcontract to local installers. The utility has used the subsidiary for two decades to provide energy efficiency and outdoor lighting products to customers.
Because its solar installation and services business is being channeled through the unregulated unit, McKenzie said, it does not require certification by the state’s Public Service Commission. But the commissioners “aware of what we are doing” and have acknowledged “it does not fall under their jurisdiction.”
GP has begun a billboard, print, TV, and radio campaign to make customers aware the utility offers expert solar guidance but “consistent with prior PSC direction and longstanding practice, advertising costs of this nature are borne by the company, and are not recovered from customers,” according to utility officials.