Georgia Doubles Down on
Solar, Renewable Energy
In mid-May, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill dou- bling renewable energy tax credits to $5 million annu- ally. Under the new law, businesses are eligible for up
to $500,000 in tax credits and homeowners up to $10,500.
In a unique format, the tax credits, which amount to 35
percent of overall system cost, are to be distributed over a
four-year period. In addition to photovoltaic (PV) and solar
thermal systems, wind and ground-source heating systems
also qualify for the credit.
The increased fund promises to jolt investment in
Georgia’s solar infrastructure, which is nascent but growing exponentially — it added 1.6 megawatts (MW) in
2010, eight times its cumulative installed capacity at year’s
end 2009 (See “View from the States: State PV Markets,”
choate construction co.
miLton beLL, emPower energy technoLogy
page 52). Last year, renewable energy tax credits totaling
nearly $2 million were awarded to 47 PV projects and 90
solar thermal installations in Georgia. The tax credits keyed
development of a 74-kilowatt (k W) installation at Choate
Construction headquarters in Atlanta, and a 50-k W installation at a beef processing facility in Bluffton, Ga.
For details on Georgia’s renewable energy tax credits,
see its DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables
and Efficiency) page at tinyurl.com/GeorgiaDSIRE.
Last year Georgia tax
credits keyed development
of more than 100 solar
projects in the state,
including a 74-kilowatt
(k W) installation at
Choate Construction headquarters in Atlanta.
The increased fund promises to jolt investment in Georgia’s solar
infrastructure, which is nascent but growing exponentially.
Xcel Energy revealed on May 13 that it expects to meet its 30-percent-by-2020 renewable nergy goal by the middle of 2012 — just a
That’s good news for the environment, and for the
climate. It means that aggressive renewable electricity
standards can be achieved economically and profitably. It can stand as an example to other utilities, other
states and the federal government.
It may be bad news for renewable energy manufacturers and installers in Colorado. It means that
Xcel’s incentives will probably evaporate a year from
now, unless the Colorado legislature sees fit to bump
the RPS up to 40 percent. Failing that, Colorado voters might be persuaded to extend the standard. They
voted for the original Amendment 37 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) measure back in 2004.
8 Years Early
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The news goes far to explaining why Xcel abruptly suspended its Solar Rewards incentive program
in February, and in March agreed to a modified
program offering production credits in place of upfront rebates.
It turns out that distributed generation is a very
small part of Xcel’s RPS mix. It appears that the company will need 8. 7 million renewable energy credits
(RECs) annually. It will meet most of these with wind
(from about 1,752 megawatts [MW] of peak capacity expected to be online by mid-2012) and utility-scale solar (from about 163 MW of peak capacity by
mid-2012). Only 11 percent of the RECs will come
from distributed-solar sources, split evenly between
retail (mostly residential) and commercial (small photovoltaic farms) sources. About 76 MW of distributed
solar power are already in place. — SE TH MASIA