Georgia lawmakers have resolved two bills in favor of environmentalists – by passing one bill that promotes the installation of solar power, and by killing another that aimed to prevent local governments from regulating plastic bags.
Georgia has climbed to 16th place in the nation in 2013 for the number of workers in the solar industry, according to a new report by The Solar Foundation.
Georgia has added some 1,800 solar jobs since 2012, bringing the total number of jobs in Georgia’s solar industry to about 2,600, the report found.
“This report shows that the solar industry is putting people to work to meet a growing percentage of our energy needs with a pollution-free energy source that has no fuel costs,” Jennette Gayer, with Environment Georgia, said in a statement announcing the report.
Now that Georgia's utility regulator has authorized the additional development of solar power in the state, attention is turning to questions of how that power will be governed.
In less than a year, Georgia’s Public Service Commission has approved 735 megawatts through solar power arrays. Georgia Power voluntarily provided the first 210 megawatts that was approved last winter. The PSC voted last week to require the additional 525 megawatts as part of a broader Georgia Power docket.
The solar expansion happens to have come to a head just as the Georgia Solar Energy Association hosts a forum on Thursday in Atlanta. The featured speaker is coming from North Carolina, where there was a movement this year to roll back some of the state’s significant goals for producing renewable energy.