Georgia Power dedicates 1-MW tracking solar demonstration project

Georgia Power and University of Georgia (UGA) officials joined Dec. 15 with Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, as well as community and business leaders, to dedicate a new 1-MW solar tracking demonstration project in Athens, Georgia.

The project is located on a 10-acre site owned by UGA and is the result of a utility/university collaboration to further demonstrate and advance solar energy in Georgia.

“Working in coordination with the Georgia Public Service Commission, and through strong relationships with organizations such as UGA, we have positioned Georgia as a national solar leader,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “Now more than ever, it’s essential that we continue to invest in the research and development of new technologies to make solar, and all generation sources, as reliable, efficient and cost-effective for our customers as possible.”

Research will be conducted under a two-year collaboration with UGA researchers, spearheaded by the College of Engineering, to study solar forecasting and the effects of solar panel soiling versus performance. Data analysis and performance reporting will occur through a Georgia Power partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The new solar project will demonstrate optimal orientation and tracking technology suited for Georgia’s climate and energy demand with project partners studying the performance and reliability of various fixed and tracking configurations of five separate sub-arrays.

Georgia Power owns and will operate the facility under a 20-year lease agreement with UGA. Energy produced by the facility will flow to the state’s electric grid to serve customers. UGA will receive the renewable energy credits (RECs).

“The complex problems facing our world today, such as the need to expand our sources of energy, require not only interdisciplinary efforts but also multi-institutional efforts that involve higher education, private industry, and government,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The Solar Tracking Demonstration Project is a perfect example of this type of broad collaboration, and the University of Georgia is pleased to be part of this exciting endeavor.”

Georgia Power’s innovative solar programs, including the Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI), are adding thousands of solar panels to Georgia’s energy landscape. Through the ASI and other programs, including new solar projects at four Georgia military bases currently under construction, Georgia Power is developing one of the largest voluntary solar portfolios in the nation. In 2015, the company introduced a separate, unregulated solar sales and installation service administered by Georgia Power Energy Services.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.