Monday morning HB 57 passed 165 to zero, according to Gavin Bade in Utility Drive yesterday. The bill still has (for 46-3-62(2)) the same residential 10 kilowatt limit as in the 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act, but changes the 100 kilowatt commercial limit to:
(B) One hundred and twenty-five percent of the actual or expected maximum annual peak demand of the premises the solar technology serves, for a commercial application.
Bade reported 13 January 2015 that
The measure would limit the size of residential solar arrays to 10 KW, and businesses with solar panels would not be allowed to generate more than 125% of their total energy demand. The size conditions were vital in persuading Georgia Power Co. and the state’s many electric cooperatives to support the bill.
That gives up nothing for residential solar financing, and it’s not clear 125% is a big hurdle for commercial installations, so that’s actually a pretty good deal.
In November, Pew named Georgia the fastest growing solar market in America, saying that government incentives have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in clean energy investment and boosted employment in the solar sector 225% in the last year.
That growth was possible even without third party ownership (TPO) available for solar in the Peach State. Georgia currently prohibits such agreements, which allow solar companies to own rooftop panels and pay homeowners a fee according to a lease contract or the amount of electricity generated. Greentech Media estimated that TPO agreements accounted for more than two-thirds of residential solar power capacity in 2014. 24 states plus DC and Puerto Rico allow TPO, according to DSIRE.
So imagine what will happen if HB 57 passes, enabling solar financing.
Bade reported yesterday,
The legislation now moves on to the Georgia Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities, and backers expect the full chamber to pass the bill swiftly, barring any unforeseen opposition. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) has not indicated whether he will sign the bill.
It can’t hurt to contact your state senators and recommend they pass HB 57.