Georgia Power earns top five spot for added solar capacity in 2016

While progress at Georgia Power’s expansion at Plant Vogtle remains foggy, progress in other areas are much clearer.

 

The Georgia utility provider earned a top 5 ranking from the Smart Electric Power Alliance this week for the solar power capacity it added to the energy grid in 2016. Of the 412 American utilities in the group’s consideration, Georgia Power earned a fifth place listing, improving on its tenth place finish the year before.

According to a release from the company, Georgia Power installed 553 megawatts of solar power systems in 2016. The Department of Energy recently released its 2017 U.S. Energy and Jobs Report detailing job numbers in different energy sectors.

According to the report, more than 12,400 people are employed in the electricity generation sector. Of those, more than 5,200 work in solar, making it the largest job market in state energy production.

“We are proud to be recognized once again by SEPA as an industry leader in advancing renewable energy for our customers,” Norrie McKenzie, vice president of Renewable Development for Georgia Power, said in a news release. “We have focused on growing solar and other renewable generation sources in coordination with the Georgia Public Service Commission and the solar industry in a way that ensures reliability, diversifies our energy mix and helps keep our rates low for customers.”

Georgia Power has installed increasing amounts of solar capacity since 2013, now boasting over 850 megawatts in its portfolio.

“One of the reasons we started the Utility Solar Top 10 lists back in 2007 was to highlight the key, but often unrecognized role utilities were taking in putting new solar on the grid,” said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. “At this pivotal moment in the U.S. energy transition, the industry leaders on this year’s Top 10 lists — such as Georgia Power — will continue to be critical to the growth of solar, storage and other distributed energy resources on the grid.”

The Southern Company subsidiary cut the ribbon to open a solar installation on Fort Gordon in mid-November. Georgia Power worked in together with four other military bases around the state to initiate on-base solar programs. The company expects to add up to 1,600 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2021.

Reach Thomas Gardiner at (706) 823-3339 or thomas.gardiner@augustachronicle.com.

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