A ribbon cutting for 30+ MW of solar power in Social Circle, Georgia, with no media coverage, other than a Georgia Power docket update buried at GA PSC. Claudia Musleve Collier says she made this first quote from email to her, and wants it shared.
Bryan Casey, with Greenavations Power sent me these photos of the recent [13 May 2014] ribbon cutting of their 38 MW solar project in middle Georgia[, Simon Solar in Social Circle]. PSC “Bubba” McDonald was present to flip the switch!
Bryan writes: “You are looking at $8M in annual guaranteed cash flow-20 year PPA w/ GA Power. Who says there isn’t a pot of gold under the rainbow? The GA Power Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI) is Simon Solar (25X)! $1.7B in Georgia Economic Development, 50,000 tons of steel, 3M Solar Panels, 25,000 jobs++. Solar charging the GA Economy. These conservative clean energy initiatives have taken Georgia from 38th in the Country to #5 in solar energy development in the US.”
“Clean, reliable, cost effective, peak demand energy for $8 cents per kWh for the next 50+ years (“ALL IN”)! No negative health or environmental externalities! No fuel cost ever! No State or rate payer incentives required in GA. Permanent downward pressure on GA electric rates. Clean, cost effective, reliable renewable energy = Priceless!!”
“Notice at the Ribbon Cutting — NO MEDIA- GA Power controlled the invite list they did not want media coverage. GA Power/ SO does not want Consumers/ Rate Payers to know how inexpensive solar has become!! GA Power did not announce the first round of ASI deliver 50MW of clean solar energy at an “ALL IN” cost of $.085 cents per kWh for the next 20 years, nor did they announce that this round for ASI RFP for 495MW of large scale solar bids were submitted on May 4th will come in under $.08 cents per KWh “ALL IN”!! They do not want rate payers to know Solar has passed Grid Parity it is now cheaper than any conventional form of electricity, especially if you include environmental compliance and Nuclear whip charges in GA !!”
Presumably he meant the nuclear CWIP or Construction Work in Progress that lets Georgia Power raise rates (they have it for “natural” gas, too), without which Georgia Power wouldn’t be involved in that big-bet boondoggle gamble on nuclear instead of solar, and remember, they can charge you even if it’s cancelled!
Meanwhile Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. post on its facebook page 30 January 2013 Simon Solar Farm Time Lapse,
The monumental project that the Executives of Georgia Solar Utilities (GaSU) tweaked and re-tweaked, until finally proving to Regulators and the Utilities that solar CAN be deployed in Georgia using NO state or ratepayer subsidies and cause NO upward pressure on electric rates is finally installed. From a simple dream of a Nashville music producer hoping for a 20MW project, GaSU Executives turned it into a massive 30MW reality that established the baseline economics used for all the new solar since in Georgia and a proud moment for Commissioner Lauren W. “Bubba” McDonald, Jr., Commissioner Everett, Commissioner Echols and Commissioner Eaton!
The YouTube description reads in part:
Published on Jan 22, 2014
Phoenix Solar Inc. was the responsible EPC contractor for planning and executing this 38.6 MWp Solar Power Plant in Social Circle, GA. The system is owned by the developer and IPP Silicon Ranch Corp.—A Nashville based developer and independent power producer.
Here’s a flyover video, with a description including:
The idea began in fall 2010 with Steve Ivey developing the concept and then presenting in February 2011 to the Georgia Public Service Commission, Governor Deal, Georgia Power, and Walton County Commissioners. This 30 MW project has moved GA from being almost at the bottom of clean solar energy development to one of the top states.
“I have picked up where my Grandfather Simons left off and am farming again on the land” said Steve Ivey, the project’s creator. “It is the exact same concept — using the sun to make a crop. Grandaddy’s crop was cotton and my crop is clean energy.”
Georgia Power does mention this project and this ribbon cutting in its 15 May 2014 Update to the Renewable Resource Action Plan and Time Table in Georgia Public Service Commission Docket # 24505 Georgia Power’s 2007 Application for Approval of an Integrated Resource Plan (PDF:
In July of 2011, the Georgia Public Service Commission (“GPSC” or the “Commission”) approved Georgia Power Company’s (“Georgia Power” or the “Company”) plan to purchase energy from up to 50 megawatts (“MW”) of solar capacity; this program is referred to as the Large Scale Solar program (“LSS”). The Company signed 20-year power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) in December 2011 for 49 MW of solar energy with two developers. Simon Solar Farm, LLC was contracted to build a 30 MW project near Social Circle, Georgia, and Solar Design and Development, LLC (“SDD”) was contracted to build solar projects totaling 19 MW on sites in Mitchell and Meriwether counties.1 The Simon Solar Farm, now owned and operated by Silicon Ranch Corporation, became commercially operational in mid-December 2013, ahead of schedule, and hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 13, 2014. Origis Energy, as the new owner of the SDD facilities, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on February 11, 2014 at the Camilla (Mitchell County) site, where the 16 MW facility went into commercial operation shortly thereafter. A second SDD site, the 3 MW Camp site located in Meriwether County, was commercially operational as of December 2013. The Simon Solar Farm and Origis solar facilities will sell output as qualifying facilities until the LSS program’s required Commercial Operation Date (“COD”) of June 1, 2015.
1 Solar Design and Development, LLC sold the Facility and transferred the applicable LSS PPAs to Origis Energy, a transaction that was approved by the GPSC on March 12, 2013.
This same update included a copy of the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Army for the three Georgia Power 30 MW solar projects on Army bases in Georgia. Neither those Army solar projects nor this Simon Solar project were part of the 525 MW more solar power GA PSC required of Georgia Power last summer. All these Army and Social Circle projects are just Georgia Power finally getting around to satisfying its 2007 IRP. Which is good, but not enough. It should be doubling its amount of solar power each year if it wants to even stop falling further behind California in solar deployments. A year after I pointed out to Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers and Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning at the SO stockholder meeting last year that Georgia didn’t have as much solar power as the 1,000 megawatts already deployed by smaller New Jersey, it still doesn’t. At this year’s Southern Company meeting there were slight changes such as a display solar car charging station, nobody sneered at solar as a “niche play”, and Fanning said SO was involved in two energy storage development projects. So maybe mighty SO and Georgia Power will really get going on solar power soon.