Georgia could grow even more than projected now that the State Senate has given final approval to legislation which will make it easier and more affordable for homeowners, businesses, churches, schools, nonprofits, military facilities, and police and fire departments to install rooftop solar systems.
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. solar energy leaders and representatives of top solar companies from an 8-state area will gather in Atlanta, GA, on May 7-8 at the Marriott Marquis for the inaugural Solar Power Southeast conference, co-sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
"The Southeast, stretching from Florida to Tennessee, has huge growth potential for solar energy, and states like Georgia are really starting to take off," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "Solar Power Southeast is an opportunity for industry peers to get together to discuss market outlooks, finance and taxes, innovative products and critically important public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)."
Today, Georgia - host to the conference - is one of the fastest-growing solar markets in the nation. The state currently has 161 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity - enough to power more than 17,000 homes - and that number is projected to double by the end of 2015, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight Year in Review Report.
Resch said solar installations in Georgia could grow even more than projected now that the State Senate has given final approval to legislation which will make it easier and more affordable for homeowners, businesses, churches, schools, nonprofits, military facilities, and police and fire departments to install rooftop solar systems. Previously approved by Georgia's House of Representatives, the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act, House Bill 57, is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal. Hailed as an important victory for property rights supporters, this important legislation will help to expand the use of clean, reliable and affordable solar energy across Georgia.
"This is model legislation - forward looking and consensus driven. We applaud the state's legislative leaders - especially Rep. Mike Dudgeon and Sen. Steve Gooch - Georgia's electric utilities, the Georgia Property Rights Council and many other groups for working together to benefit all Georgians," Resch continued. "This landmark legislation will help to create new jobs across the state and stimulate economic activity, while helping to lower costs for consumers. It will also help to ensure that Georgia continues to be one of the fastest-growing solar markets in the United States."
In addition to Georgia, other Southeast states expecting to make significant solar gains this year include North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana.
"Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide - more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined - and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy," Resch added. "This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar ITC, Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying big dividends for the economy, as well as for our environment."
For more information about Solar Power Southeast go to http://www.seia.org/events/solarpowersoutheast.