Georgia is expected to have nearly 400 MW of installed solar capacity by the end of the year – enough to power more than 43,000 homes.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - With its new, forward-looking Solar Power Free Market Financing Act set to become law on July 1, Georgia is expected to have its best year ever for new solar installations in 2015, according to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
In the past, Georgia's solar market growth has been powered, for the most part, by utility-scale projects. But the new law - championed by Rep. Mike Dudgeon, Georgia's utilities, the Georgia Property Rights Council and the Georgia Solar Energy Association - is expected to spark the widespread deployment of both residential and commercial solar installations across Georgia. According to the new report's projections, Georgia is expected to have nearly 400 MW of installed solar capacity by the end of the year - enough to power more than 43,000 homes.
"At the rate it's going, Georgia will quadruple the amount of new solar capacity added this year compared to 2014," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "Georgia is now on pace to install 235 MW of new solar capacity this year alone. That's a huge jump - 10 times more than was installed in Georgia in 2011. Clearly, smart public policies, like the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Georgia's new consensus legislation, will provide a tremendous boost to the state's economy, generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year in economic activity. We applaud Gov. Deal, Rep. Dudgeon and all of the stakeholders for championing this important legislation, which we believe will serve as a model for other states to follow."
The GTM-SEIA report went on to point out that $30 million was invested in Georgia in the first quarter of this year in new solar installations - and more than $110 million since the beginning of 2014.
"Because of the strong demand for solar energy, thousands of new, good-paying jobs are expected to be added in Georgia in the coming years, benefitting the state's economy and environment," Resch said. "To put Georgia's remarkable progress in some context, the 235 MW of solar projected to be installed in the state this year is nearly half as much as our entire country had in 2004. While homeowners are ‘going solar' in increasingly large numbers, what's also encouraging is the way many large companies, including IKEA, Anheuser-Busch and REI, are all embracing solar in a big way in communities all across Georgia."
Today, there are 173 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Georgia, employing more than 2,900 people, representing manufacturers, contractors, project developers, distributors and installers. What's more, from an environmental perspective, solar installations in Georgia are helping to offset more than 186,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 39,000 cars off the state's roads and highways, or not consuming 21 million gallons of gasoline.
"By any measurement," Resch added, "solar is paying big dividends for Georgia - and the best is yet to come, with what looks like a record-shattering year in 2015."