Every year since about 2000 one or more solar bills have been before the Georgia legislature to modify the 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act to enable solar financing. 2015 could be the year one of them finally passes, what with influential people finally waking up to the cost-saving and energy-independence power of solar panels. If you want real energy reliability, lower power bills, and local jobs, you can help pass whichever bill gets before the legislature this year, and right now is a good time to help draft that bill.
Here are a few recent bills.
SB 51, The Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act
That year even the Georgia Municipal Association fell for opposing SB 51, and ALEC and Georgia Power once again smothered it in committee. This year two people in the Valdosta City government have told LAKE of their interest in passing a solar financing bill, so that’s a big change.
- 2013 HB 503 for renewable portfolio standards
- 2014: HB 657, the Rural Georgia Economic Recovery and Solar Resource Act of 2014
- 2014: HB 874, the Solar Power Free-Market Financing and Property Rights Act of 2014
All these bills have been sunk in committee by Georgia Power and by ALEC’s “our state legislators”.
Every year I and many others argue with Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers and Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning about solar financing, but so far they have not been willing to relent on changing the 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act, which says you can sell your generated electricity only to your one and only electric utility, as chosen for you by your geographical location, at the price the utility sets, and only up to a very low maximum.
However, this year some of the people and organizations that previously didn’t really care are getting on board, so things could change.
That plus Georgia Power’s getting a lot of good press out of the solar farms it’s been doing for the military lately, such as at Robins AFB. If it’s good for military bases, how about for schools? Or the Valdosta City Hall parking lot? Or the county palace? Or your business or home roof?
For much more solar background, see the solar topic on the LAKE blog.