PSC approves Georgia Power’s plan to build solar facilities at Robins AFB, plus two citiesGeorgia could increase its solar power capacity by seven times by 2045 if solar panels were installed on all new homes, according to a new report by Environment Georgia Research and Policy Center. Credit: Seth Finch/Environment Georgia
By David Pendered
The Georgia Public Service Commission on Tuesday authorized Georgia Power to build three solar facilities that are to generate a total of 142 megawatts of electricity. The facility planned at Robins Air Force Base is to account for 139 MW of that power.
The project at Robins, near Macon, is to provide an economical supply of electric power at a price below that available from out sources of power, according to a review of the proposed facilities by two PSC officials.
According to the review, the facility will contribute:
- “towards the United States’ military mandates regarding energy security and energy resiliency goals while providing a significant investment in another Georgia military base.”
In addition, the facility fulfills two commitments Georgia Power made last year as part of the negotiations over the company’s proposed 2016 Integrated Resource Plan, according to the PSC review. The PSC approved construction of 200 MW of renewable power facilities.
The Robins’ project completely satisfies Georgia Power’s commitment to provide a minimum of 125 MW of the 200 MW for use by military projects.
The two other facilities satisfy Georgia Power’s commitment to provide 3 MW of the 200 MW to the community solar program.
These two other facilities include a 2 MW facility, in Savannah, and a 1 MW facility in Comer. Georgia Power will build a 1 MW facility.
The Department of the Air Force provided a letter to the PSC dated May 5. The letter said the department endorses the project:
- “Robins AFB leadership believes the project proposed by GPC, if built as proposed, will directly benefit Robins’ mission and will help meet the energy security and energy resiliency goals of Robins AFB and the US Air Force.”
If the project generates any financial returns, Georgia Power has agreed to provide these benefits to the company’s ratepayers.
The facility is to be installed on land purchased to prevent development in Robins’ flight path. Georgia Power expects to have a long-term lease, of 35 years after the start of construction, with the landowner – Central Georgia Joint Development Authority.
This is how the PSC review outlined the project:
- “The Robins Air Force Base project is a 139 MW alternating current (“AC”) solar generation facility that will utilize both a fixed tilt (120 MW AC) and single-axis tracker system (19 MW AC), and will be located on land adjacent to the Robins Air Force Base with a projected commercial operation date of 12/1/2019.
- “A glint glare analysis was required under Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) guidelines due to the proximity of the solar project to a runway. The FAA evaluation guidelines ensure that proposed photovoltaic systems are safe and pose no risk to pilots, air traffic controllers, or airport operations. Based on this analysis, a portion of the proposed Robins project will utilize single axis tracker technology.”