The demand for electricity and its cost has risen significantly nationwide. In Georgia, many Georgians have turned to solar energy systems to generate electricity, cut electricity costs, and use renewable energy. As of 2020, the amount of solar installed in Georgia was sufficient to supply electricity to 312,450 households. The projected market growth of Georgia solar industry is 1,924 Mega Watts over the next five years.
The defeat of two pro-solar candidates for the Georgia Public Service Commission by establishment candidates in 2019 posed a setback for a more progressive home solar policy in Georgia. However, a strong rationale exists for installing solar panels in your home. The returns are substantial, considering the level of sunshine blanketing the state over the year.
Starting in 2021, we anticipate a more forceful push and discourse within the Georgia state capitol to revise the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and require utilities to generate a more significant portion of energy from clean sources, such as the solar panels installed on your roof. Typically, the implementation of robust RPS standards results in improved solar incentives.
As of January 2022, Georgia has no local solar incentives or rebate programs. However, Georgia Power will purchase back the excess energy a solar panel system creates at a rate less than the retail energy cost.
There is still hope, depending on where you live and how much your power company will pay for the clean electricity from your solar panels. Without solar incentives, Georgians are keen to look around for crowd-sourced bulk discount solar buying programs, EMC incentives, net metering, and low-cost solar loans provided by EMCs and municipalities. This can take some research and heavy digging but it’s well worth it, especially as many such programs require approval before you install your solar system.
The federal solar investment tax credit will significantly impact Georgia cost of going solar.
By the end of 2032, if you are investing in a solar energy system, the federal tax credit is 30% of the price of your solar panel system. This means 30% off the entire cost of the system, including equipment, labor, and permitting.
Sample Calculation: Assuming your solar energy system costs $20,000, you would be eligible for a federal solar tax credit of $6,000, 30% of the system's total cost.
In 2033, the federal tax credit will fall to 26%.
The credit goes to those who buy their solar system with cash or a loan. People who lease a solar system miss out because the incentives go to the third-party owner.
Having your solar energy and paying lower monthly bills for electricity are not the only solar incentives you may gain. In addition, if you generate surplus solar energy, you can sell it back to the utility company through a net metering program. Participating utility companies will gauge the excess solar electricity you feed into the grid and compensate you based on the rate approved by Georgia Public Service Commission.
In Georgia, the net metering rate is established based on the avoided cost of utilities, the rate they would pay to power generators if they were to source electricity from them instead. 2016, for example, the utilities would set you between $40 and $60 for each megawatt-hour (MWh) you generate. However, by installing a 5-kilowatt (kW) system that yields an annual output of 5 MWh, you could sell the surplus electricity for $200 to $300. Among the utility companies in Georgia, Georgia Power provides the most favorable net metering program.
In Georgia and other states, you are entitled to a total retail rate compensation for the excess electricity you export to the grid using your solar panels.
Net metering involves your utility company monitoring how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you consume and ensuring you get credit for the surplus.
Last 2019, a resolution was filed by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) in Georgia Power's rate case. It requires Georgia Power to offer net Metering with monthly netting to 5,000 rooftop solar customers or 32 MW of capacity, whichever comes first. Sadly that's below the target for net metering capacity considering the size and population of the state.
The program is available under Georgia Power's Renewable & Nonrenewable Tariff (RNR). The utility maintains a web page with the most recent numbers of people and MW signed up under the RNR program.
Jackson EMC is one of Georgia few utility companies to offer solar incentives and rebate programs. Consumers of Jackson EMC can take advantage of this program, which provides a $250 rebate for each kilowatt installed on your home.
However, it's important to note that your eligibility depends on passing inspections and obtaining proper permitting. So, your solar company must handle the inverter and solar panel installation correctly for you to cash in on this rebate. Jackson EMC caps the refund at $2,500, so rooftop solar systems more significant than this won't receive extra rebates.
For example, the average 11-kilowatt system would rack up more of a rebate, but since the company caps it at $2,500, that is all the customer would receive.
This decree grants solar leasing and power-purchase agreements in Georgia, which make solar more cost-effective for home and business owners statewide.
Performance-Based Incentives (PBIs), also known as SPPPs, provide small cash payments for the measured energy production of a solar power system. SPPPs are available in Georgia.
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