Net metering of solar energy works fine in California, where it
increasingly provides electricity to meet peak demand.
Georgia has a 2001 law that requires power utilities to do
a version of net metering, but it’s a weak version and there’s a low
cap on how much you can sell back to the utility.
Net metering is the process whereby an energy consumer produces energy
and then sells some or all of this energy to the “grid”,
energy producers in the state. Under Georgia’s net metering laws,
state residents and businesses can purchase and operate green energy
capital, including photovoltaics, wind energy and fuel cells, and use
this energy on-site. These residents and businesses may then sell any
un-used, additional energy produced on-site to their energy provider.
There is a maximum of 10 kilowatts (kW) for residential applications
and up to 100 kW for commercial applications.
As you can see by GEFA’s pie chart, solar energy was too small to chart
as a source of energy in Georgia as of 2004.
With solar, we can burn less coal and uranium.
Protecting Net energy metering (NEM) is the top policy priority of the
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for California in 2012. NEM
is a billing arrangement that allows utility customers to offset some or
all of their energy use (up to 1 MW) with selfgenerated renewable energy.
The definition sounds the same, except for the cap: 1 megawatt
is 1000 kilowatts, so California’s current cap is 100 times the Georgia
residential cap and 10 times the Georgia commercial cap, with
apparently no distinction between residential and commercial.
Most of the cost of a corporate or personal renewable energy installation
can be funded through federal and state rebates, but the remainder
is what stops most people. Here is what I know about that.
There are many other sources of information.
Federal 30% and Georgia 35% rebates add up to 65% (see below under
That’s for solar (PV or hot water), wind, and some other related items.
The other 35% is what stops most businesses and people.
35% of a $25,000 house solar system is still $8,750.
People like that it will pay itself off in 9-15 years,
but most people don’t have $8,750 to invest.
That’s a business opportunity for some enterprising local bank or banks.
Dr. Noll has explained,
if you pay for that remainder yourself,
the system will pay itself off in about 9 years.
If you get a bank to finance it, more like 15 years.
And local banks currently require collateral other than the system itself
(they like real estate as collateral).
The simplest business opportunity is for a local bank to accept
the solar equipment itself as collateral.
After all, it’s worth 65/35 or 185% of the total loan amount.
Inquiring minds want to know if Georgia still has its energy rebate program.
The answer is yes.
The usual place to look for state tax incentives is
(Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency).
That database shows for Georgia not only state
financial incentives but also a local loan program for
and a local rebate program for Atlanta.
There’s a thought!
Valdosta or Lowndes County could do a loan program for real clean renewable energy!
or the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) could do that
using some of its $15 million in bonds and other debt, assuming it hasn’t
already spent all of it on locking up land.