Filtered by author: Don Moreland Clear Filter

GA Solar Announces Speakers for the 2023 Georgia Solar Summit




October 4, 2023

ATLANTA -- After 10 consecutive years of bringing the Georgia solar industry together for one day of networking, education, and collaboration to make Georgia a better place to do business for solar, the Georgia Solar Energy Association annual Solar Summit took a hiatus in 2019, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the Georgia Solar Summit is back for 2023, on October 10th, at the Georgia Tech Kendeda Building

It seems there has been a lot of pent-up demand since our last Solar Summit because this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever. Whether it be the great lineup of speakers, incredible sponsors, all-day and all-inclusive catering, or the beautiful setting of the Kendeda Building, this year’s event will be second to none.  Here is what you can expect at this year’s event. > See Event Itinerary Here

Read More

GA Solar honors Jonnell Minefee as GA Solar Woman in Solar 2021 Award

This June GA Solar held our sixth annual Women in Solar Energy (WISE) event. As an organization we recognize the need for  more women and people of color in our solar community. In 2019 the Solar Foundation researched diversity in our industry and found that women and African Americans are both underrepresented in the solar workforce and identified a wide gender gap in pay, advancement, and job satisfaction.

Our WISE event addresses this challenge head on and shines a light on women making a difference in Georgia’s solar landscape. We’ve also given out NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) scholarships that pay for the  NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification Exam fees of women interested in breaking into our industry and offer networking and mentorship opportunities to up-and- comers.

This year's WISE event highlighted two policy makers who have proposed legislation that, when passed, will help grow the solar industry in a major way. Senate Minority leader Gloria Butler and Senator Kay Kirkpatrick are co-sponsors of SB 299, The Georgia Solar Freedom Act. The Senators spoke on a panel about their support for solar from job creation to resilience and increased energy choice and diversity.

The panel was hosted by our own Jennette Gayer, co-chair and Director of Environment Georgia and Theresa Garcia Robertson, Executive Director of Conservatives for Clean Energy Georgia Chapter.

To close the program a surprise guest, Abby Ross Hopper, the CEO of the Solar Energy Industry Association joined the webinar to give GA Solar’s 2021 Woman in Solar award to Jonnell Carol Minefee of Solar Tyme USA. 

Jonnell is the managing partner with Solar Tyme USA based in Columbus GA and has been on the board of GA Solar since 2016. Since joining the board she has, often single handedly, kept the Women in Solar event going and is a tireless advocate for women and people of color in the solar industry.

Read More

Georgia Solar Slowdown as Georgia Power Program Reaches Cap


Georgia Solar Slowdown as Georgia Power Program Reaches Cap

Atlanta, GA – The rapid adoption of solar energy systems by Georgia home and business owners under Georgia Power’s ‘Monthly Net Metering’ program is about to grind to a halt and could threaten solar jobs in the state. When the Public Service Commission established the program in 2019 it placed a cap on the number of customers that could benefit from monthly netting. That cap has now been reached and it happened much more quickly than anyone anticipated. 

“For the first time in state history, Georgia Power customers with solar panels on their homes or businesses can get full credit for energy exported to the utility,” said Montana Busch co-Chair of the GA Solar Energy Association (GA Solar) and CEO of Alternative Energy Southeast, headquartered in Athens. “This policy has helped to create hundreds of new jobs in one year. If the PSC’s cap stands we will lose many of these good paying jobs”.

Monthly Net Metering is a basic utility policy which credits solar customers at the retail rate for the solar energy fed back into the grid, required in Georgia’s 2001 Co-Generation and Distribution Act. An analysis provided by the Southern Environmental Law Center shows monthly-net metering as an industry-standard utility solar policy.  Under Monthly Net Metering, customers essentially get credited the full retail value of their solar (up to their monthly usage) instead of the wholesale rate (⅕ of the avg. retail rate) Georgia Power previously credited for all solar exports.

Georgia Power’s monthly net metering program was created as a part of the 2019 Public Service Commision (PSC) Rate Case with the support of GA Solar. The Public Service Commission added a cap of 5,000 customers or 32MW of capacity, whichever comes first. Under this program, rather than instantly crediting a customer's excess solar generation at wholesale prices, the utility uses excess solar power to offset consumption, thereby further reducing the customer's bill. 

“The pilot monthly net metering program has been a big success for Georgia Power customers and the growing solar industry” said Russell Seifert, CEO of Creative Solar USA in Kennesaw Georgia “We’ve been in the State for 13 years and the adoption of the monthly net metering program for Georgia Power was a signal to us that Georgia was finally becoming a mature solar market. Now isn’t the time to put a cap on Georgia’s solar opportunity. Neighboring southern states already have many times more than Georgia Power’s 5000 customers with on-site solar: South Carolina with over 20,000; Florida with almost 60,000.”

Georgia’s Solar Industry has added dozens of new companies and thousands of new solar installations under the program in 2021. Now that the caps have been met, Georgia Power customers interested in solar energy will only be able to recoup wholesale power costs from excess energy they produce.  If the Public Service Commission does not extend the program the Georgia Solar Energy Association warns that hundreds of solar jobs are at risk as companies re-evaluate their presence in the state.

Read More

GA Solar 2021 Legislative Update

The 2021 Georgia General Assembly (GGA) concluded with the solar industry introducing Senate Bill 299. The bill has cleanup language for the 2001 Cogeneration Act and the 2015 Solar Free Market Act to increase profitability for solar companies and increase affordability and access for consumers. SB 299 also opens up more solar opportunities for net metering (aka "monthly netting"), churches, and nonprofits.

The 2021 GGA session was extremely light on introduced legislation given the COVID-19 budget impact. The next biggest item was HB 150 and its companion bill, SB 102. The bill would prohibit governmental entities from adopting any policy that prohibits the connection or reconnection of any utility service based upon the type or source of energy or fuel. It passed both chambers and is headed to Governor Kemp’s desk. A silver lining: it also keeps local governments from preventing solar or any other fuel/energy type.

The last real bill of interest was SB 213, relating to contracts and purchases by public schools, so as to provide for payment on guaranteed energy saving contracts by local school systems using proceeds from local option sales taxes collected for educational purposes; to provide for phased implementation of energy or operational cost savings measures. It has passed both chambers and is headed to Governor Kemp’s desk for signature.

Other solar and clean energy related bills:

  • HR172, Smith, House Study Committee on Georgia Utility Facility Safety Improvements; create
  • HR211, Evans, Governor; join United States Climate Alliance; urge
  • HB388, Mainor, Atlanta Technology and Energy Enhancement Authority Act; enact
  • HB449, Smith, Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act; revise
  • HB482, Lim, Ad valorem tax; property; provisions
  • HB483, Frye, Property owners' associations; creating or enforcing covenants which infringe upon a lot owner's right to install a solar energy device; prohibit
  • HB576, Rhodes, Education; payment on guaranteed energy saving contracts by local school systems using proceeds from local option sales taxes; provide


Read More

Letter from Co-Chair, Montana Busch

Letter from the Chair:

The association has continued working steadily to help Georgia’s solar industry reach its full potential. I am honored to work alongside the members of this board, many of whom volunteer several hours of their time on a daily basis. Every hour worked is one small step closer.

We recently held the annual board planning retreat which happens every January. Many thanks to Colleen Kiernan and Kate McGreggor-Mosley for their excellent facilitation skills that made the retreat efficient and productive. 

This is a big year for our Policy Committee. The political climate has never been better for solar at both the state and federal levels, and we plan to take full advantage of it. I am not allowed to say much at this time for strategic reasons, but I promise we will share more details in the coming weeks. Be sure to attend GA Solar's first Solar Energy Day at the Capitol event on March 9th, 2-4PM!

Lastly, I wanted to share that many solar companies have reached out to us regarding delays and recent changes to Georgia Power’s RNR application process. We researched the issues and tried to resolve them directly with Georgia Power to no avail. This issue has now been filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission as an official complaint. We will share updates on this critical issue to the growth of solar when they become available. 

In solidarity,

Read More

To a brighter future!

As we wrap up perhaps the most heartbreaking year in memory, so many of my (virtual) conversations revolve around our hope that 2021 will be a happier, healthier one for all, the solar industry included.  For that to happen, we need more than hope.  We need a vision of a brighter future, a roadmap to get us there, and some measurable steps we can take toward a better tomorrow.  

Like me, you likely embrace solar because of that ‘better tomorrow’ a solar world could bring. A solar future means a world free of polluting tailpipes and power plants, a huge new clean energy workforce and people empowered to save money by generating their own energy via rooftop or community solar arrays.

Looking back, despite a tough 2020, Georgia Solar continued to move the needle towards that bright solar future--with our allies we pushed for and won a victory that will help ensure more solar owners receive fairer compensation for the clean energy they generate. We held our fifth annual Women in Solar Energy event to lift up underrepresented Georgians in our industry and we continued to offer a place for Georgia’s solar community to gather (albeit via a zoom square).

Looking forward, we have big plans to share the vision of a bright solar tomorrow further than ever before. We are also working to plot the roadmap that we’ll need to get there into programs, policies and steps that we can pursue in 2021. We hope you’ll join us.

To a brighter future!

Jennette Gayer

Read More

Letter from the Co-Chair

By:  Montana Busch, GA Solar Co-Chairman


Hopefully this letter finds you well during these uncertain times. What a year it has shaped up to be. GA Solar, like most organizations, has had to find new ways of interacting with our members. While we haven’t been able to host as many events this year I am proud to say we have had several well attended virtual events. In the Spring, we hosted a webinar to highlight details of the Monthly-Netting victory that GA Solar has fought many years for. In the Summer, we hosted our annual Women in Solar Energy event virtually with Commissioner Pridemore as the Keynote speaker. We will also be hosting a virtual holiday event this year. I look forward to the time when we can all get back together in person again!

GA Solar has been able to maintain regular bi-monthly board meetings and the committees continue working to accomplish their goals. The Policy Committee is preparing a strong agenda for the 2021 Georgia Legislature as well producing new resources for solar consumers. The Events Committee is currently working on a year-end virtual event in lieu of our usual Holiday Luncheon. The Education and Membership Committee along with the Communications Committee went through a lull due to losing several key members. Thanks to the help of new board members those committees have recently begun meeting with renewed vitality and are strategizing how to grow and engage our membership as well as gain more funding. We continue to make ourselves available to answer the many questions we get from calls and emails. There’s also a new ad hoc committee meeting weekly to work on a new initiative we’ll be announcing in Q1. Lastly, the Executive Committee continues to meet regularly to discuss various aspects of the organization and set the agenda for the board meetings.

I personally believe 2021 will be a great year for solar power in Georgia. There are several great Federal solar policies currently being reviewed by Congress and with a little bi-partisan support the solar industry can continue its historic growth that we have witnessed over the past decade. The future of solar is BRIGHT!

Many, many thanks to all who continue to support GA Solar.

Read More

Monthly Netting Webinar Recap

Thanks to the participation of PSC Commissioner, Tim Echols, PSC Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Manager, Jamie Barber, and Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney, Kurt Ebersbach we were able to learn a few things that we didn’t know before the webinar. Below is a recap of the webinar including some things we learned and a few things we are still waiting for clarification on, video of the webinar in its entirety, and some FAQs that help clarify some nuances of the new compensation program. 


What we learned: 

  • Georgia Power customers that were on the Renewable Non-renewable tariff (“RNR”) prior to January, 1 2020 will begin to see credits on their bill in July and retroactive to the January billing cycle. Customers that switch to RNR will begin to see credits on their bill in July and retroactive to when they switched. 

  • Customers on a Time-of-Use (“TOU”) rate plan will receive peak-hour credit for generation exported during peak hours.

Read More

A Letter of Hope for the Solar Industry

By Thatcher Young, Velo Solar


I know for many this is a time of true hardship and in some cases pain both personally and professionally, and I want to acknowledge this reality. For all those who are suffering, scared and uncertain of the future, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Almost more than any other industry, Solar has seen more than its fair share of volatility.  I often think we should look to Nostradamus rather than the solar press for predictions of our future.  So, in the current crisis I want to take a moment to paint an optimistic picture of how our industry emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since I couldn’t get Nostradamus on the ouija board; I turned to the analytics firm McKinsey for a glimpse into a more hopeful future. In their recent analysis “Addressing climate change in a post-pandemic world,” they explain how COVID will likely realign priorities and perspectives for the better:

“Furthermore, addressing pandemics and climate risk requires the same fundamental shift, from optimizing largely for the shorter-term performance of systems to ensuring equally their longer-term resiliency.” 

“We can already start seeing how the coronavirus pandemic may influence the pace and       nature of climate action, and how climate action could accelerate the recovery by creating jobs, driving capital formation, and increasing economic resiliency.”

Read More

Summary of COVID-19 Stimulus Packages

By Montana Busch, Alternative Energy Southeast


Information on the COVID-19 stimulus packages has been coming out rapidly. So far Congress has passed three pieces of legislation and there are talks of a fourth and fifth coming. For our members who may be having a hard time keeping up with all this we wanted to provide a high-level overview and let you know where to get the details. There are eligibility requirements and other limitations for these programs that we won't get into here. This is not legal or financial advice.

COVID-I -- The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was enacted on March 6th and provided funding for the EIDL (Economic Injury and Disaster Loan). These loans are provided by the SBA and they promise a $10,000 advance on the loan which does not have to be paid back if your application for the EIDL is denied. The entire state of Georgia is considered an eligible location as we are a hot zone for the virus. Click here for more information.

COVID-II -- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law on March 18th and made active on April 1st. It provides tax credits to employers who offer up to two weeks of paid sick leave and/or up to 10 weeks of paid family medical leave. Employers can claim this tax credit immediately for full reimbursement through reduced payroll taxes. Click here for more information.

COVID-III -- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted on March 27th and brought the Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPPL), tax relief and unemployment insurance expansion. The PPPL is a fully forgivable loan if the business meets certain requirements including keeping the same number of employees. The U.S. Treasury Department has advised businesses to apply for PPPL quickly because there is a funding cap. While the application was just released on April 3rd, banks are saying they’ve already received an influx of applications. Lawmakers intend to add more funds to the PPPL in future legislation that is already in the works. To learn about the application for the EIDL or PPPL Click here.

Read More

Georgia Solar Energy Association Lauds Improved Compensation for Rooftop Solar


Georgia Solar Energy Association Lauds Improved Compensation for Rooftop Solar

 Atlanta, GA – The Georgia Solar Energy Association applauds a new compensation program for Georgia Power customers that install their own solar. This program could improve the ROI for onsite solar investments.

The program, available to 5,000 Georgia Power solar customers or 32Mw, whichever comes first, will credit them at a higher rate for the energy they feed to the grid. This is made possible by what is referred to as “Monthly Netting of Energy.” Under this program, rather than instantly crediting a customer’s excess solar generation at wholesale prices, the utility will use it to offset consumption, thereby further reducing the customer's bill. That means residential solar customers could receive $400+ annually in additional savings over the current compensation formula.

Requirements, procedures and applications for the program are currently being developed.

Read More