IOU responds to public calls for solar with gusto, making Georgia a solar powerhouse – even without a mandated target for renewables
Las Vegas, Oct. 21, 2014 – The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), an educational nonprofit organization focused on helping utilities integrate solar electric power into their energy portfolios, today named Georgia Power as its Investor-Owned Utility of the Year. The award was announced during SEPA's Awards Luncheon at Solar Power International in Las Vegas.
Founded in 2005, SEPA's annual awards recognize organizations and individuals advancing utility innovation, industry collaboration and leadership in the solar energy sector. Last year, SEPA honored Green Mountain Power of Vermont as Investor-Owned Utility of the Year.
Georgia Power earned the 2014 award as a result of its leadership in building the nation's largest and most rapidly growing voluntary renewable energy portfolio. Responding to urgings from a wide variety of stakeholders -- including advocacy groups, private citizens and the state's public utilities commission -- it established an acquisition and development model that tripled the company's solar resources in less than two years. Georgia Power is now slated to add more than 1,400 megawatts (MW) of renewable resources by 2016, making the state a regional solar powerhouse. Another innovative program, the Advanced Solar Initiative will develop 735 MW worth of various technologically advanced but cost effective solar resources in the state -- without pushing up power rates. The utility is also collaborating with the United States Military to develop 90 MW worth of solar facilities on military bases in the state.
"Georgia Power is to be commended for its whole-hearted response to calls from customers and stakeholders to become a leader in the development of solar in the state," said Julia Hamm, President and CEO of SEPA. "Its ability to in short order develop a significant portfolio of solar projects at affordable prices should be a model for utilities everywhere - competitive solar is here today."
At the Awards Luncheon, SEPA also announced awards for the City of Palo Alto Utilities as Public Power Utility of the Year, the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative as Electric Cooperative Utility of the Year, and Warren McKenna, general manager of the Farmers Electric Cooperative, as Utility CEO of the Year. SEPA added a new award category this year, naming Clean Power Research as its first Innovative Solar Partner of the Year.
About SEPA: SEPA is an educational nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios. SEPA is a founder and on-going co-organizer of Solar Power International. It provides a range of reports, educational events, networking opportunities and advisory consulting services to its members.