News | July 21, 2022

Ga. Public Service Commission fails to expand popular rooftop solar program, will reevaluate this fall

There is strong support for rooftop solar in Georgia and across the South. (©Jackson Smith)

Despite soaring demand for solar capacity amongst Georgia residents, a majority of the Georgia Public Service Commissioners just voted against expanding a popular solar program that filled up with 5,000 participants in under two years.

In addition, the PSC approved Georgia Power buying over 2,300 megawatts of new gas capacity contracts, even as skyrocketing gas prices demonstrate methane’s extreme volatility.  

Now more than ever, Georgians need more control over their electric bills.

Senior Attorney Jill Kysor

“Despite strong support from intervenors and the public for greater access to rooftop solar, which give customers greater control over energy usage and electric bills, a majority of the commissioners voted against expanding the program in the resource planning proceeding,” says Senior Attorney Jill Kysor. “We hope the Commission will reopen its popular net metering program in Georgia Power’s ongoing rate case.”  

Commissioner Tim Echols made a motion to expand the highly successful solar program but only received the support of Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, whereas three commissioners voted against the suggested improvements. Commissioners will have another opportunity to expand the popular rooftop solar program in Georgia Power’s rate case Kysor references, which is underway now.  

“At a time when families across the state already facing the strain of record-breaking inflation and financial uncertainty, the Commission failed to expand bill-saving clean energy opportunities for struggling Georgians,” says Joel Alvarado, Vice President of Strategy and Engagement at Partnership for Southern Equity. “We are disappointed, but the fight continues. We are turning our attention to the Georgia Power rate case where we will combat rising electric bills and forced reliance on our monopoly utility.”  

Today’s vote marks the conclusion of a six-month proceeding before the Georgia Public Service Commission evaluating Georgia Power’s Integrated Resource Plan. The process effectively sets out a roadmap for Georgia’s energy future. Partnership for Southern Equity, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, and SELC intervened in the process and advocated for expanding a popular net metering program for rooftop solar customers, ramping up Georgia Power’s energy efficiency offerings, and reducing our reliance on gas and coal resources.  

“Now more than ever, Georgians need more control over their electric bills,” says Kysor.  

Georgians want better, fairer rooftop solar options.

Georgia Power is asking the Commission to increase monthly electric bills by nearly $15 per month for residential customers in its rate case.  

Adds the SELC attorney, “That will be the first of several big hits for customers – next year customers will likely see steep bill increases due to sky-high gas prices and ballooning costs from the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project.”