- Disclosures from the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission show incumbent regulators Doug Everett and Lauren "Bubba" McDonald together have received more than $14,000 in total from individual solar companies, national and Georgia solar industry groups, lobbyists, contractors, and associated attorneys as donations to their re-election campaigns. "McDonald got roughly $10,000, and Everett got about $3,500," E&E reporter Kristi Swartz told Utility Dive.
- Members of Georgia's Public Service Commission (PSC), which governs utility rates and policy regulations, is one of few elected state commissions. Most commissions are Governor-appointed.
- These revelations constitute a striking turnaround because environmental and consumer advocates typically accuse elected commissioners for accepting donations from utilities, natural gas and telephone companies and this one of the first times that concerns about solar industry donations have been raised.
Solar industry advocates say, like campaign donors from other industries have said in the past, that they are simply trying to support elected representatives who are doing a good job.
A key decision from Georgia’s PSC recently went in favor of sustaining solar’s net energy metering incentive but the larger decision on how to value solar over the long term is still to come.
Georgia's solar industry reportedly represented $189 million in investments in 2013 and is made up of 150 companies that provide 2,600 jobs.
The PSC approved a Georgia Power program in 2012 to support 210 megawatts of rooftop and central station solar and expanded it last year as part of Georgia Power's long-term energy plan.
Everett is a major supporter of Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear plant expansion scheduled for completion by 2018 whereas McDonald, an aggressive solar advocate, last year called for Georgia Power to add 525 new megawatts of solar capacity.