F is for solar in Georgia, #45 in 2013 state solar power rankings

F for all three main Southern Company states: Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Florida manages a B for rank #23, presumably because SO only covers part of the panhandle. Coincidence? While SO’s tiger team studies someday maybe doing something about distributed solar, the Georgia Public Service Commission could double solar requirements on Georgia Power this week.

You can clearly see those three SO states on this map by GigaOm:

Solar Power Rocks.com asked 19 June 2013 in 2013 State Solar Power Rankings,

“How do we recognize and reward legislatures for admirable solar energy policy while holding them accountable to do better?”

These grades and ranks are even worse than the ones for solar jobs in May from The Solar Foundation, because Solar Power Rocks.com looked at more factors.

Georgia is #45 out of 51 (DC is #6).

Also at 0.9 suns, Georgia may have even less going for it than Wyoming, so far as solar power goes. Except for the minority of Georgians lucky enough to be TVA customers, there is literally nothing incentivizing solar in the state. While there is technically a law establishing net metering in the state, that law is woefully inadequate, receiving an F from both us and our colleagues over at Freeing the Grid. You’ve heard us say it over and over again, but we can’t stress it enough — the best place to start building is with a high-target RPS that forces the utilities to start easing customers transition to producing their own solar power.

Could be worse. Alabama is #46.

Alabama starts our bottom 5, the third state in a row with approximately 0.9 suns. We can sum up solar power in The Heart of Dixie in two sentences. If you’re a TVA customer, you can cash in on both a rebate and ongoing performance payments. If you’re not a TVA customer, there’s nothing at all — not even mandatory net metering this time.

Or worse than that. Mississippi is #49.

Mississippi closes out the 40s with just 0.65 suns. We’ve seen this pattern before in the South; if you’re a TVA customer, you can cash in on a $1,000 upfront rebate and ongoing performance payments to the tune of 12 cents for every kilowatt hour of solar power you produce. If you’re not a TVA customer? You got it. Not a single piece of solar policy at all. And of course, like the rest of the states with little to no solar support, there’s no place to start like a strong RPS with an even strong solar carve-out!

Who is responsible for these failing grades? Two men more than anyone else: SO CEO Tom Fanning and Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers. They’re also the two people who could turn this titanic ship around. Will they?

The GA PSC tugboat could nudge Georgia Power towards the sun this week.