Tag Archives: SB 401

TV station gets it: Territoriality Law prevents solar in Georgia

Local TV is getting it about solar in Georgia, and what’s holding it back!

WSBTV.com posted 20 November 2012, Georgia law keeps power customers from saving with solar energy

Supporters say it could save some people big on their electric bills, but leasing solar panels in Georgia isn’t worth it because of a current state law.

Critics believe it gives Georgia Power a solar monopoly and prevents consumers from saving money.

Jeff Sain installed solar panels on his Dunwoody house because his electric bill was nearly $600 a month in the summer. With solar his Georgia Power bill plummeted.

“The first month’s power bill, I saved 91 percent on my power bill,” Sain said.

Purchasing solar panels required a big outlay of cash. Sain spent $32,000.

But companies in 14 states now offer systems that can be leased with no upfront costs. However, you get less in savings because you have split it with the leasing company providing the equipment.

“Typical savings if you lease panels as people do in other states will be 30 to 50 percent of your power bill,” Consumer advocate Clark Howard said.

The main law that prevents us getting financing for solar like in Continue reading

30 Megawatt solar plant opens near Austin

While Georgia Power continues to block solar deployment in Georgia, Austin Energy forges ahead in Texas with a utility-scale solar plant.

Here’s their PR, Austin Energy Activates 30 MW Solar Farm,

AUSTIN, Texas , Jan. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Austin Energy along with Austin City Mayor Lee Leffingwell , and Village of Webberville Mayor Hector Gonzales today announced the activation of a 30 megawatt (MW) solar power plant located within the Village of Webberville, Texas . The activation of the power plant marks the first utility-scale solar deployment for Austin Energy and helps bring the utility one step closer to achieving a 35% renewable energy mix by 2020. It is the largest active solar project of any public power utility in the country, the largest active project in Texas and among the largest of all operating solar projects in America. The project was activated on December 20, 2011

The key was a PPA:

The utility-scale solar project was made possible through a 25-year solar power purchase agreement in which Austin Energy will purchase the energy at a fixed rate along with the renewable energy credits.
In Georgia, PPAs can be made with municipal governments, universities, companies, or even individuals, if SB 401 passes.

An opportunity for EMCs: Continue reading

Why and how you can help bring solar power to Georgia

Foot-dragging utilities have stalled SB 401, which would facilitate generating and selling of solar power in Georgia. Here’s why and how you can help fix that.

John Sibley wrote for SaportaReport Sunday, Solar power bill would give Georgians more choices Have you gotten used to thinking you have no choice on your power

Times are changing. More and more of us are discovering choices for managing our power costs. Beyond the time-honored practice of turning off the lights leaving the room, we can find light bulbs that pay for themselves in a year or so; and we can find appliances, water heaters, and air conditioners that pay for themselves in a few years. After that, the savings are like getting part of your power free.

Now, on-site solar power has become an economical option for many. Deals for rooftop solar panels can be done in Georgia today that will provide power for 25 years for as little as 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. Many Georgians can save money from day one. Since rates in Georgia have gone up 49 percent in seven years, they can also protect themselves against increases.

More and more Georgians are choosing on-site solar, but

Continue reading

Enabling a commodity market in solar power: Dr. Smith’s electric meters

Dr. Smith’s electric meters enable a commodity market in solar power, with billing from generators to customers. And EMCs can take 1% or so for carrying the power, plus they can get advertising rights that could be worth more than selling electricity! If SB 459 or something like it gets out of committee and into law.

Dr. Sidney Smith explained how the electric meter he’s developed uses cellular technology to facilitate direct billing from solar generator and customer. Gretchen asked him what if they generate more than they use. Dr. Smith said they wouldn’t. I asked what if they added more panels. He said they could, but there are trees in the back.

Here’s Part 1 of 5:

Enabling a commodity market in solar power: Dr. Smith’s electric meters Part 1 of 5:
South Eastern Pathology Associates,
Selling Power, Lower Rates for Customers LLC (LRCLLC),
Richmond Hill, Bryan County, Georgia, 17 February 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

He forgot about the parking lot out front where the panels he just connected are located: no shading there, and plenty of room for more solar panels.

Dr. Smith said the best places for solar are where there is no shade and near power poles. Gretchen asked how do you finance? Dr. Smith answered, Continue reading

Cutting the solar ribbon in Richmond Hill 2012 02 17

Drs. Sidney Smith and Pat Godbey and their customer cut the solar ribbon in Richmond Hill, Georgia, 17 Febuary 2012:
To commemorate the future of power in Georgia and the future for our children.
I didn’t get the customer’s name; sorry.

You, too, could be a customer or a seller of distributed solar power if SB 459 gets out of committee and through the Georgia Senate and legislature into law. Contact your state senator today!


Here’s the video:

Cutting the solar ribbon in Richmond Hill 2012 02 17
South Eastern Pathology Associates,
Selling Power, Lower Rates for Customers LLC (LRCLLC),
Richmond Hill, Bryan County, Georgia, 17 February 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


SB 401 revived in SB 459: lets you generate and sell solar power

SB 401 got tabled in the Natural Resources Committee. 46 other states already let people generate solar power and sell it to a third party.
Yet in only four states — Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Kentucky Mdash; are third party power purchase agreements disallowed, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
But Georgia Power convinced that committee that it would raise rates for everybody else. Which is pretty rich coming from the same gapower that is already charging customers Construction Work in Progress for its nuke boondoggle. So SB 401 sponsor Sen. Buddy Carter found another way.

Mary Landers wrote for the Savannah Morning News Friday, Solar bill jolted back to life:

To revive his bill, Carter tacked it onto to one already sent to the Regulated Industries Committee — SB 459, which would allow consumers to opt-out of smart meters like the ones Georgia Power is currently installing in Savannah. The committee held a hearing on the bill Thursday, ultimately tabling it, and saying they wanted more information about how power purchase agreements work in other states.

Carter was elated.

“It’s out there now and people are aware of it,” he said. It’s getting media attention. I feel good about it.”

Help him feel even better about it. Contact the committee chair and tell him we want solar cogeneration:
Senator William Ligon
Oh, regarding the meter opt-out in the main body of the bill, why let gapower charge people for that? You can mention to Sen. Ligon that people should be able to opt out for free.


PS: Owed to Bob Ingram.

Can you imagine the power company coming and cutting our power off? —Dr. Sidney Smith 2012 02 17

Dr. Smith speculated that Georgia Power might try to stop solar installations like the one he just opened in Richmond Hill last Friday.
But can you imagine the power company coming and cutting our power off and telling Dr. [inaudible] he has to pay more money? I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Does Georgia Power really want to be seen opposing Lower Rates for Customers?

Maybe so, since Georgia Power opposes SB 401, which would facilitate exactly what Dr. Smith is doing. You can help pass SB 401. Call your state senator, or sign the petition.

Here’s the video:

Can you imagine the power company coming and cutting our power off? —Dr. Sidney Smith 2012 02 17
South Eastern Pathology Associates,
Selling Power, Lower Rates for Customers LLC (LRCLLC),
Richmond Hill, Bryan County, Georgia, 17 February 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Our goal is simply to make power available to all people at the lowest rates….
He remarked this was their second installation. The first was at the Driftaway Cafe. They have another planned. A fourth one was supposed to be at a nearby orphanage, but Georgia Power wouldn’t allow it.


Georgia Power opposes SB 401 and Lower Rates for Customers

Is anyone surprised that Georgia Power has come out in opposition to Georgia SB 401, which will let you generate solar power and sell it to whomever you like? If you do want to do that, you can call your state senator today.

Errin Haines wrote for AP 18 Feb 2012, Georgia Power balks at Senate solar power proposal,

“The power company ought to be doing this, but they don’t want to buy it from anybody that produces it,” said state Sen. Buddy Carter, the bill’s main sponsor.

The state’s main electricity provider, Georgia Power, is opposing the legislation, pointing to the state’s Electric Service Act. Created nearly four decades ago, the law established assigned territories for the power company, along with 42 electric membership cooperatives and 52 cities with municipal systems, all competing for customers.

Spokeswoman Christy Ihrig said in a statement that the proposed bill would illegally infringe on the company’s territory and that the introduction of a new supplier could drive up rates for customers because utilities would be required to hike costs. She added the company is supportive of solar power and is working to provide solar as an option to customers.

Ah, the old territoriality law! “Competing” through assigned territories. Does that seem right to you?

You know, it’s not illegal if the legislature changes the law….

If you want lower rates for customers, call your state senator today. Around here, that would be Senator Tim Golden, tim.golden@senate.ga.gov

Capitol Office:
121-A State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-7580
Fax: (404) 463-4226
District Office:
110 Beacon Hill
Valdosta, GA 31602
Phone: (229) 293-0202 (O)
(229) 241-1284 (H)
(229) 241-7732 (F)


Stop Georgia Power from stopping you from affording solar

Why can’t you do this?
Say you own a coffee shop. You’d like to install solar panels on your roof but can’t afford them. A company offers to install and lease you the equipment, provided you sign a long-term contract. The company will sell you energy at a cheaper rate than you already pay Georgia Power. No longer would you be so susceptible to spikes in electricity prices. Nor would your money be helping to support burning coal or nuclear power.
Georgia law says you can’t do that.

That’s why SB 401 is in the Georgia Senate. It’s

a common-sense measure that would put people to work, create a new sector in Georgia’s economy, and promote clean energy. In addition, the legislation would help shield people from increases in electricity rates, which, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, have risen nearly 50 percent over the last seven years.
Why would Georgia Power not like that? Continue reading

Help pass GA Senate Bill 401 to facilitate distributed power cogeneration

SB 401 intends to modernize Georgia law to make distributed power generation easier. You can help.

Drs Sidney Smith and Pat Godbey not only have started Tabby Power, which sells solar power directly to customers. They also have an outfit called Lower Rates for Customers, which is about generating solar power in one place and selling it in another. There are various legal impediments to doing that.

Charlie Harper wrote for the Courier-Herald and Peach Pundit 9 February 2012, A Little Sunshine On A Battle To Expand Renewable Energy,

Essentially, customers with solar panels meter not only power coming into their house from the existing grid, but also the amount of power returned to the grid. The generating company — Georgia Power in most of the state — is required to buy surplus power back based on their state granted regulated monopoly status. Currently, projects are limited in size to 10 Kw for residential customers and 100 Kw for business customers. SB 401 removes these caps.

More intricate details of the bill provide for private ownership of these systems, as opposed to current law which requires the owner of the property to also own the attached grids. This will allow for manufacturers of solar grids or interested third parties to enter into financing or lease agreements which pay for the systems long term out of cost savings for the customer. By allowing for these arrangements, many customers can access these systems with no money up front, as opposed to the high initial capital costs which would take years to recover.

Here are the details and text of SB 401. It has six cosponsors:
  1. Carter, Buddy 1st
  2. Chance, Ronnie 16th
  3. Carter, Jason 42nd
  4. Williams, Tommie 19th
  5. Rogers, Chip 21st
  6. Stoner, Doug 6th
We’ve seen Doug Stoner before, at last June’s Southern Solar Summit, talking about renewable energy. It looks like he and others are actually trying to do something about it.

You can help, by signing this petition.