GA Gov. Nathan Deal signs solar financing law

The sun is finally rising on Georgia, and if that is possible, Florida can follow, and the southeast, the U.S., and the world.

Today is a historic day, when even a governor who took campaign finance funds from a long list of fossil fuel pipeline companies, the governor of the most corrupt state (least stringent ethics laws), when that governor finally signed a law that even the most corruption-prone legislature, after squelching similar bills for a dozen years, finally passed as HB 57 unanimously in both houses.

Dave Williams, Atlanta Business Chronicle, 12 may 2015, Gov. Deal signs bill letting solar installers offer customers third-party financing,

Georgia property owners will get more affordable options for installing solar panels at their homes and businesses under a bill Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Tuesday.

The legislation, which sailed through the General Assembly unanimously, will let solar installers offer customers third-party financing of installations. That’s a major change from the old law, which required customers to pay up front.

Already two years ago the Georgia Public Service Commissioners, even though overwhelmingly campaign-funded by the industries they regulate, required Georgia Power to buy twice as much solar energy as it wanted. This year Georgia Power’s parent Southern Company’s annual report says its main source of new revenue for both 2013 and 2014 was solar power. And Georgia has already leaped from far behind to become the fastest growing solar market in the nation, with numerous Georgia Power solar utility-scale installations and smaller ones like for Alton Burns in Thomas County and today for George Bennett in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. This new law Gov. Deal just signed will accelerate that growth even more.

Luis Martinez, NRDC, 12 May 2015, The Sun Also Rises in the Southeast,

Anyone who’s ever sat out on a Georgia afternoon or wandered outdoors in the bright Florida sunshine, knows the solar power potential in these two Southeastern states is enormous. Now, after a slow start, so is the headway the clean power technology is making in the Southeast’s two most populous states. “In 2011, if you told me we’d be where we are today with solar,” says one Georgia solar advocate, “I would have laughed.”

There’s a lot more in his post.

The picture Martinez includes is captioned: “Photo by John S. Quarterman”, but that’s not me in that quote above. After installing the first 21st century solar panels in Lowndes County in 2009, I have been saying this stuff since 2011, advocating before the Lowndes County Commission, asking the Valdosta City Council when it would expand its small solar array at the Mud Creek Wastwater plant. The answer turned out to be in 2013, and those two solar projects helped Valdosta win Smart Energy Municipality of the Year for 2014. Way back in 2010 Arizona State University said Georgia was the #3 state with most to benefit from solar power. Add to that solar prices continually dropping due to economies of scale and driving deployments up, in Moore’s Law for solar (aka Swanson’s Law), and it’s not hard to make the predictions both I and former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff made in 2013 that within a decade more U.S. electricity would come from solar power than from any other source; predictions that being borne out by actual solar deployment more than doubling every two years. Add to that electric vehicles and home batteries, and pretty soon, like the horse-and-buggy days a century ago, the era of fossil fuels will be over.

Solar power will win like the Internet did, like personal computers, like mobile phones, and for many of the same reasons.

As I’ve said before,

Solar power is rising on Georgia, the southeast, the U.S., and the world, and all the fossil fuel and nuclear companies and all their electric utilities, cannot stop that sun from coming up.

When even the Georgia legislature and governor finally see the sunlight, you know the future is going to be bright.


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