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GA Solar Honors PSC Chairman with Solar Advocate Award

GA Solar Honors PSC Chairman with Solar Advocate Award

Recognition Celebrates His Pivotal Role in Creating the State’s Thriving Solar Market

 

Atlanta, GA – Georgia Public Service Commission Chairman Lauren “Bubba” McDonald will be honored at 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 12, in ceremonies at an annual Holiday Luncheon at Mason Fine Art, 415 Plasters Ave., NE, Atlanta, GA.

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Message from the ED - August E-News

Message from the Executive Director - August 2019 E-News

I had the opportunity to join PSC Commissioner Tim Echols and his Co-Host John Noel last week on their radio show, Energy Matters (Listen: Episode 31). We discussed a number of topics, including the trend of NFL and College teams who make it to playoff and championship games coming from some of the most sustainable stadiums in the country. (As a Falcon’s fan, It’s only right that I pause here and declare “This is our year!”)  And, of course, we talked about how GA Solar serves the state’s solar interest through education and advocacy.

As I prepared for the show, I reflected on the organization’s history. I’ve personally been along for seven years of the journey but the Georgia Solar Energy Association dates back to 2002. That’s 17 years of education and advocacy efforts to establish and grow our solar industry in the South. In light of its humble beginnings, GA Solar members celebrated last month’s announcements of IRP rulings as a milestone achievement we can be significantly proud of. GA Solar, in partnership with GASEIA, intervened in several areas of the IRP and consider the outcome a victory for our ongoing efforts to carve a path of access for less-common types of solar producers through our Solar for All campaign.

The plan proposed by PSC Chairman Lauren “Bubba” McDonald and approved by the PSC will create a range of solar investment options in the Georgia Power resources blueprint for the next 20 years. In the largest category, utility scale solar, the plan will add two gigawatts (2,000 megawatts) to the state’s growing portfolio of large solar farms. McDonald’s plan includes 1,000 megawatts of installations known as CRSP (Customer Renewable Supply Procurement) for GPC customers statewide, with an electrical demand greater than 3MW.

As a result of our efforts, the plan reserves 210 megawatts for distributed generation, AKA “rooftop solar” and an additional 50 megawatts for customer-sited solar arrays 1kW – 3MW in size.

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GA Solar 2019 IRP Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2019
Contact: Lauren Hart
Executive Director
[email protected] | 404-522-4775

Georgia Solar Energy Association Cheers Distributed Generation Solar in 2019 Georgia Power Integrated Resources Plan

Join GA Solar July 30th for an IRP Wrap Celebration!

 
Atlanta, GA - On a motion from Georgia PSC Chairman Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a dramatic increase in the state’s solar resources Tuesday, including capacity reserved for on-site solar customers. Chairman McDonald with the support of Commissioner Chuck Eaton further motioned for a formal review of Georgia Power’s avoided cost methodology.

   McDonald has been a staunch advocate of increasing solar investment in Georgia for the past decade and led the PSC in its successful vision to make Georgia a leading solar market. This plan will help ensure that Georgia remains a top solar market bringing jobs and investment to local communities throughout the state.

   The plan proposed by McDonald and approved by the PSC will create a range of solar investment options in the Georgia Power resources blueprint for the next 20 years. In the largest category, utility scale solar, the plan will add two gigawatts (2,000 megawatts) to the state’s growing portfolio of large solar farms. McDonald’s plan includes 1,000 megawatts of installations known as Customer Renewable Supply Procurement for GPC customers statewide, with an energy use of greater than 3MW.

   Finally, the plan reserves 210 megawatts for distributed generation, AKA “rooftop solar” including 50 megawatts for customer-sited solar arrays. In all, the clean, cost-effective solar energy provided by the new resources authorized in this plan would be enough to power over 200,000 homes for one year.

   The Georgia Solar Energy Association was among the stakeholders engaged with Georgia Power and the PSC in Georgia Power’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), seeking more stand-alone DG (Distributed Generation) and a strategic plan for the placement and deployment of DG resources.). GA Solar is grateful to Chairman McDonald for his vision and leadership in the PSC’s approval of this 2019 plan.

       The Georgia Solar Energy Association, the state’s leading voice for solar advocates and professionals, has been a leader in the gains that have allowed the Georgia solar industry flourish over the past 10 years. So far, GA Solar’s efforts have resulted in billions of dollars in local investment that provide ongoing tax benefits for community improvement statewide. This investment not only creates jobs and supports communities, it helps preserve Georgia’s environment for future generations.

   DG - also known as “Behind the Meter” or “Rooftop” - allows homeowners and business owners to put solar generating equipment on their homes or facilities and consume what they generate. Any excess generation flows back into the grid and provides a credit to the array owners for that electricity on their bill. This type of generation has been slow to catch on in Georgia.

   GA Solar members are encouraged by the outcome and believe that a healthy mix of both utility-scale and customer-sited distributed generation, along with a better value of solar to the grid, is key in reaching the full market potential of solar.

   Russell Seifert, President of Creative Solar USA and GA Solar chairman, said the level of participation in the Georgia Power IRP process shows that Georgians and the growing list of Fortune 500 companies who call Georgia home, support clean energy and want affordable, sustainable choices to meet their energy needs.

    “At GA Solar, we believe that everyone deserves access to the financial and environmental benefits that come with renewable energy,” Seifert said. “Embracing a full range of solar access statewide creates a new and attractive way of doing business, one that sparks a revival of the region, promotes investment, and positions the state as a trendsetter for the new economy.
With the continued support of our great leaders at the PSC and the on-going coordination with Georgia Power, we are optimistic that meeting this goal is within reach.”

   GA Solar will continue its engagement with the Georgia Public Service Commission and other stakeholders in the energy market as it seeks a review of Georgia Power’s avoided-cost filing in the upcoming GPC Rate Case and avoided-cost review.

About the Georgia Solar Energy Association: The Georgia Solar Energy Association, is leading the effort in Georgia to promote the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy through education, advocacy and industry support. Our members are working together to make Georgia a leader in innovation, creating jobs, and attracting investment. For more information, visit www.gasolar.org

 

Message from the Chair: where does the solar market go from here?

Message from the Chair - Where does the solar market go from here?

In May, Georgia experienced an energy watershed.  There was a massive solar spill in South Georgia. Photons reached an all-time high and the overflow was uncontainableNo one suffered, no environmental impact occurredand no lingering effects ensued. All affected communities continued to function normally. This overflow of excess photons iknown as a Sunny Day, and we have 215 of them a year, on average, here in Georgia. 

 The GA Solar June 2019 eNews contains a plethora of articles about how adaptable solar energy has become and the economic impact it has contributed over the last decade. Jobs, jobs, jobs! You hear this a lot, but data and documented examples now abound showing the variety of applications for solar energy and how much this contributes to prosperity and productivity. In just the last year alone, the Jinko Solar plant in Jacksonville, FL, has begun production, the Hanwha Q-Cells plant in Dalton, GA, is up and running, and SK Batteries $1.7 billion plant in Commerce, GA, is under construction. These operations will create over 2,800 well-paid new jobs in the region’s renewable energy market. Over half of those jobs will be high tech and specialty.  

Now, solar and energy storage are positively affecting our economy in so many ways and changing our economic landscape with more sustainable, long-term sources of revenue. City and state governments are implementing sustainability goals, including requirements that new and renovated homes have systems adaptable for EV and solar. Building codes are setting new standards for solar and EV as well as storage. Is this costly? It does have a price tag, but it also offers savings over the life of the structure. We need to look at this as the long-term solution instead of continuing the current pattern of repetitive, piecemeal upgrades. 

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Message from the Chair - Utilities Need to Embrace Roof Top Solar or Perish

Message from the Chair - Utilities Need to Embrace Roof Top Solar or Perish

Solar! Residential Solar! Rooftop Solar! Behind the meter solar! Solar and energy storage! These are all terms that utilities didn’t like to hear 25 to 30 years ago. Back then, it was not perceived as a potential threat to their industry. The technology was still in its infancy. Over the last 15 years though, these words have gained traction as more installations came online. Utility executives took note and wondered what to make of this evolving technology. Was it a passing fad, a status symbol for wealthy individuals?

They recognized its potential to reduce the ever-growing revenue stream on which their business model depends, making them uneasy. Plus, human nature resists new ideas and change. For almost a century, the utility industry never had to worry about perpetual growth in demand. Americans are hooked on electricity for every aspect of daily life: cell phones, laptops, air conditioning, entertainment media, etc. Energy (electricity in this context) has become like oxygen that we need to live.

But now, with efficiency on the rise, solar plus storage, and electric vehicles, the upward spiral of  demand for energy is leveling off. So, what should utilities do?

EMBRACE this energy boom!


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Message from the Chair - Rooftop Solar in GA

Message from the Chair - Why don’t we have more rooftop solar in Georgia?

With 2019 dawning, speculation has risen about why the largest state East of the Mississippi has not supported its solar industry as proactively as some of its surrounding states.

In 2013, interest in solar surged in Georgia primarily because of support from the PSC and Georgia Power. That support provided amazing economic benefits for the state as the nation emerged from its most painful recession since the Great Depression. The investment and job creation provided by the growing solar industry brought long-needed relief to many hard-hit parts of the state, putting Georgia on the map as a viable solar market.

The lion’s share of credit for this economic boost goes to the elected members of the PSC. Those commissioners, led by the vision of Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, crafted programs that have served our state well. Starting with the Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI) and evolving into the REDI program, solar initiatives such as these created a well-deserved enthusiasm for the benefits of solar and helped debunk many myths that previously hindered solar adoption.

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2018 GA Solar Essay Contest

Students in Grades 6 – 10, tell us what you think:
How can solar energy help my community?
The Georgia Solar Energy Association invites students in Grades 6 – 10 to enter the GA Solar Essay Contest.

This year’s topic: How can solar energy help my community?

Here is what you need to know to enter the contest: Essays must be 250 – 300 words

  • One entry per student
  • Submitted with a cover page with title of essay, name, school, teacher’s name
  • printed on one side of 8.5 x 11 white paper
  • double-spaced
  • one inch margins
  • 12 point font

Submit via e-mail to [email protected] and CC [email protected] - or via mail to 1199 Euclid Avenue, Atlanta GA 30307

Must be able to attend and read essay at the 2018 GA Solar Holiday Luncheon on December 13, 2018 at Mason Fine Arts Center with a parent/teacher/guardian.


Dec 13th Event Address:
Mason Fine Arts Center
415 Plasters Ave NE, #100
Atlanta, GA 30324
Time: 11:00- 2:00PM

Admittance is free for student and guest

Deadline for submission is DECEMBER 5TH, 2018 at noon.

The winner will be contacted on December 7, 2018 and will be invited/required to read his/her essay at the GA Solar Holiday Luncheon on December 13, 2018.

Winner will also receive a cash prize.

All essays become the property of GA Solar and cannot be returned. Essays will be judged using the rubric provided.

Contact Info:
Dana Redden
Education Chair GA Solar Energy Association






















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Message from the Chair - 10th Anniversary Southern Solar Summit!

Message from the Chair - 10th Anniversary Southern Solar Summit!

Tariff-ed out? Let’s talk about the 10th Anniversary Southern Solar Summit!

Yes, I agree. Concerns about the potential effect of tariffs on imported cells and panels seemed to dominate every solar conversation over the last year. We have all become a bit numb to talk of cost effects and a possible damper on growth.

So, now the time has come to talk about the future of Solar in Georgia. We have a lot going on. What better way to get a plethora of information in one day regarding key topics on the current and future of solar than a day with fellow solar professionals and advocates? Along with new trends in Georgia at our 10th Anniversary Southern Solar Summit on October 25th at the Carter Center, we will have discussions of national trends. This is our second Summit at the historic, solar-powered Carter Center.

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Russell Seifert Chairman's Remarks - "GA Solar Elects a New Chair"

GA Solar Elects a New Chair - Russell Seifert

These are exciting times in the solar industry. Ten years ago, in 2008, the cost of a solar panel installation was $8.82 per watt.

The solar industry today looks very different: in addition to solar panel efficiency increasing dramatically, solar panel producers have significantly improved their manufacturing processes. Solar installers, too, can deploy solar PV across the United States more efficiently now than they could 10 years ago.

The result: the price of solar has fallen by over 60 percent, to just $3.14/watt. This market has followed the pattern of Moore’s Law in the computer and semi-conductor industry.

Solar energy is creating more jobs than any other sector of the economy. Plus, energy storage is becoming more mainstream. Homeowners and business owners alike see the “Real Value” in a sustainable product that lasts longer than most other investments they make in their lifetime.

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Barriers to Solar Adoption Stifle Economic Development

   Last year, GA Solar joined with other stakeholders in successful negotiations with Central Georgia EMC to alleviate punitive and discriminatory fees aimed exclusively at solar customers.  Since then, our members and their customers have encountered similar charges in other locations throughout the state.

   Growing numbers of homeowners and businesses are looking for cleaner, and more economical, energy resources. As they do, these practices are increasingly coming into question, even as they quietly discourage local economic development.

   In my own work helping communities organize cost-saving, bulk-buying Solarize programs, I have encountered difficulties in the cities of Covington and Oxford, GA, for example, where some residents would like to organize a Solarize Newton County initiative.

   The City of Oxford operates its own power utility, which charges solar customers an additional $11.15 per kilowatt of installed solar per month on their electric bill. This means a solar customer with a 5 kW solar array would pay an additional $55.75 every month on their power bill before they use a single watt of electricity. This discriminatory charge clearly presents a daunting barrier to any consideration of solar adoption by residents and businesses in Oxford.

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The Georgia Public Service Commission: Why Your Vote Matters!

The Georgia Public Service Commission: Why Your Vote Matters!

Two seats on the five-member Georgia Public Service Commission are on the ballot this year. So, what is the Georgia Public Service Commission or “PSC”?  The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) is the governing body that regulates the rates and services of “public utilities” in the state, including telecommunications, electricity (meaning our Georgia Power bills) and natural gas.

Current PSC Commissioners include H. Doug Everett, Commissioner, District 1; Tim Echols, Vice Chairman and Commissioner, District 2, Chuck Eaton, Commissioner, District 3, Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr., PSC Chairman and Commissioner, District 4 and Patricia Pridemore, Commissioner, District 5.

As a nonprofit, the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GA Solar) cannot recommend any specific candidate.  However, we urge Georgia residents to do your homework!  Your vote matters!

GA Solar sent out a questionnaire to all PSC candidates to help voters understand where the candidates stand on issues related to the PSC’s responsibilities. The following candidates responded to our questionnaire as of May 15:  Lindy Miller, candidate for District 3; Ryan Graham, candidate for District 3, and John Turpish, candidate for District 5.  The following candidates have not responded: Chuck Eaton, incumbent candidate for District 3; Patricia Pridemore, incumbent candidate for District 5; and Dawn Randolph, candidate for District 5.  You can read the unedited responses at this link:

 https://tinyurl.com/GASolarPSCQuestionnaire18

Georgia has some of the lowest utility rates in the nation.  However, that is about to change.  Electricity rates are set to resume a historic rate of increase over the next six years.







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The Georgia Public Service Commission - 2018 Candidate Questionnaires

The Georgia Public Service Commission: Why Your Vote Matters!

(Click for PSC Candidate Responses Below)

Two seats on the five-member Georgia Public Service Commission are on the ballot this year. So, what is the Public Service Commission or “PSC”?  The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) is the governing body that regulates the rates and services of “public utilities” in the state, including telecommunications, electricity (meaning our Georgia Power bills) and natural gas.

Current PSC Commissioners include H. Doug Everett, Commissioner, District 1; Tim Echols, Vice Chairman and Commissioner, District 2, Chuck Eaton, Commissioner, District 3, Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr., PSC Chairman and Commissioner, District 4 and Patricia Pridemore, Commissioner, District 5.

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Now is Still the Best Time to Go Solar!

In spite of President Trump’s 30% tariff, now is still the best time to go solar!  The cost of solar has come down 70% since 2010 and there is a 30% tax credit available to help reduce the upfront cost.

That’s right, now is the time. Policy and market forces are at play that make 2018 and 2019 the sweet spot to get the most bang for your buck. There are three main drivers that affect the cost of solar and the value of a solar investment that everyone should know:

Driver # 1: Tax Credit Phasing Out

Since 2006, homeowners and business owners are eligible for a 30% tax credit to help reduce the upfront cost of solar. This tax credit applies to the entire cost of the system including components (panels, inverters, racking/mounting structure), permitting, labor, etc. The tax credit also applies to energy storage systems when purchased and installed at the same time when purchasing and installing the solar system. Set to expire in 2015, Congress extended the tax credit through 2021 but it starts to phase after 2019

As you can see in the chart above, the tax credit will phase out entirely for homeowners in 2023 and level out to 10% for businesses.  So, if you are considering going solar anytime in the next few years, and you want to maximize the use of the tax credit to reduce the upfront cost and your tax liability, you will want to purchase and install sometime before the end of 2019 to get the full 30% tax credit.

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GA Solar Statement on Solar Tariffs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2018


Contact:
Julie Hairston, Communications Director
404-273-2039
[email protected]

Georgia Solar Energy Association Chair Don Moreland Statement on Solar Tariffs

Atlanta, GA – Don Moreland, chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association, has released the following statement on President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imported solar cells and panels:




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Reflections on a Challenging Year and Wishes for the New Year

Reflections on a Challenging Year and Wishes for the New Year

Looking back on 2017, the solar industry has confronted a challenging year from the local to the national level.

We are waiting to see if President Donald Trump will impose the International Trade Commission’s recommendations for tariffs on imported panels and modules. Currently, the President has until January 26 to make his decision. While the recommendations are less punitive than Suniva sought in its petition to the ITC, the effect of these tariffs would still be a serious blow to the jobs and investment the solar industry has created in the U.S.  Tariffs also would inhibit the investments that bring needed revenues to many economically underserved Georgia communities and the control solar offers many Georgia consumers for their energy consumption.

The Georgia Solar Energy Association has been actively engaged in the effort to persuade the ITC and our state’s elected officials that these tariffs will cut good jobs from our growing solar industry. In May, GA Solar gathered more than 150 signatures on a letter outlining the damage solar tariffs would do and delivered it to members of Georgia’s congressional delegation in Washington.  Throughout the year, we have provided regular updates on the progress of the case through email and in our social media. Here is a link to the Solar Energy Industries Association website that offers ways you can be involved in opposition to the tariffs:

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Come Together to Stay Strong

Come Together to Stay Strong

The solar industry is facing its greatest threat to date. So, the time couldn’t be more perfect to gather and recommit to what protects our vitality in the market.

Unquestionably, the recent ruling from the International Trade Commission that imported solar modules have caused injury to domestic manufacturers could end up imposing a painful new burden on our thriving market. A forty-cent increase in the cost of modules, for example, would erase the gains made in recent years by increasing the cost of utility-scale solar by about 25%, C&I market 20%, and residential market 15%.

But no tariffs are in place yet, and time remains to mitigate the harm that this misguided action could have on our state, cities, industry, and thousands of working family jobs and welfare. In short, we can hope for the best but we should prepare for the worst.  

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Statement from the Georgia Solar on the ITC’s ruling in the Suniva Trade Case

Statement from the Georgia Solar Energy Association Chair Don Moreland on the International Trade Commission’s ruling in the Suniva Trade Case:

   “The thriving solar industry is sure to suffer the loss of as many as 2,000 good, local jobs in Georgia and more than 88,000 nationwide if tariffs are imposed on imported panels as a result of this decision. This will be far more damaging to a growing economic sector of the state’s economy than the jobs lost in Suniva’s bankruptcy. At a time when citizens, elected officials and utilities in Georgia demand more clean energy solutions, this decision will potentially disrupt established supply chains and erase years of progress that has made solar power the cost-effective clean energy solution it is today. We at GA Solar will continue to fight against tariffs this decision may bring. We hope that state leaders, including Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. David Perdue and our Georgia congressmen, will join us in urging President Donald Trump not to adopt tariffs that will throttle a growing domestic industry and the jobs it has created.

   “We are grateful to the solar professionals from our state - James Marlow, Russell Seifert, Kenny Hughes, Pete Marte and John Huffington - who traveled to Washington to convey all the relevant facts of the impact of tariffs on the U.S. solar industry to our state’s congressional delegation. We are especially grateful to Georgia PSC Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, who provided important testimony to the ITC in this case about the damage tariffs will inflict on the solar industry.”

  For more information and contact information, visit www.gasolar.org.

Message From The Chair : A Period of Uncertainty

Message from the Chair - 8/21/2017

A Period of Uncertainty

   Back in November, solar professionals realized we were in for a period of uncertainty. What we didn’t expect was that the greatest threat would rise from within our own industry.

   On August 15, the International Trade Commission (ITC) heard testimony on a petition filed by bankrupt Georgia panel manufacturer Suniva asking the commission to recommend the imposition of steep tariffs on all panels imported to the U.S. The tariffs would roughly double the cost of panels to the U.S. solar industry.

   The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has been joined in opposition to this request for tariffs by a wide range of political and financial interests. All of these pro-solar allies, including the conservative Heritage Foundation, want to protect the more than 250,000 solar jobs and billions of dollars in solar investment that are threatened by this petition.

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Georgia Solar Industry Comes Together to Make Our Voices Heard

GA Solar is dedicated to promoting the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy through education, advocacy and industry support. So, when a trade case, even when initiated by one of our own, threatens to jeopardize the economic viability of the Georgia solar industry and the 4,000+ men and women it supports, we are compelled to act and act decisively. That’s exactly what we are doing now to prevent the potentially devastating effect of trade sanctions on imported solar equipment.

The response has been nothing short of amazing! With a unified voice, GA Solar came together with GaSEIA, SEIA, and a delegation of local industry professionals to send a message, loud and clear, to our elected officials that Georgia’s solar industry is thriving and is much, much more than a single panel manufacturer. More than 150 members of GA Solar joined this effort by signing an open letter to Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Johnny Isakson. GA Solar Co-Vice Chair Russell Seifert travelled to Washington with a delegation of solar professionals from Georgia to deliver the letter personally.

You have made your voice heard and shown your support for the Georgia solar industry. Thank you to everyone who took part in this effort! We will continue to fight the good fight and will count on your support along the way.

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GA Solar Open Letter to Senators Isakson and Perdue

GA Solar Open Letter to Senators Isakson and Perdue
Suniva / Solarworld 201 Case

Supporter of Solar,
The continued health of the U.S. solar industry depends on access to low-cost components, many of which come from foreign manufacturers. In a case now pending before the International Trade Commission, that access is threatened. The letter below, jointly drafted by Georgia's solar nonprofits and the national solar trade organization, outlines the implications of the ITC case and its devastating potential effect on the growing solar industry. Because the case was initiated by a Georgia company, opposition from the solar industry in Georgia can do a great deal to prevent the imposition of pricing premiums on the solar components we all rely on to make our projects viable.

WE NEED YOUR SIGNATURE ON THIS LETTER. A delegation of solar professionals will be traveling to Washington this month to deliver the letter and its signatures to our Georgia Senators, Sen. Johnny Isakson and Sen. David Perdue. Sign it today and show your support. Your future business prospects may be hanging in the balance.

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