If someone asked you what the fastest growing solar state in the U.S. is, would you have said Georgia? The top solar states are actually not in the South at all. New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are all located in the northern third of America, but they have state policies that support solar power.
Georgia is hundreds of miles south of them, but did not have such policies. That is, until recently when it appears there has been more openness. A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts about solar power in Georgia pointed out the shift in mindset.
Solar jobs there grew 225% last year. $666 million in private investment took place from 2009 to 2013 in the field of clean energy. Over the next ten years, about four billion more will be invested. 525 MW of solar power could be built by Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility. Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy initiative summarized the situation, “A suite of policies—a target, a buyback program, interconnection guidelines, and net metering—have catapulted Georgia into a national leadership position in solar.” So, Georgia is a leader in solar power growth, and could actually become a leading solar power producer.
The shift that is underway in Georgia is important because the state has a very
strong solar potential. Most of the state’s electricity currently is made by burning coal.
Doing so produces air pollution that can be hazardous to human and animal health.
Some of the particulate matter in air pollution can also wind up in streams, lakes, rivers and ponds. Solar power produces no air or water pollution.
Mining for coal results in accidental injuries and sometimes death. There are no such problems associated with solar power.
That Georgia is experiencing solar power growth is a good development. Hopefully that growth will help create more of an awakening in its neighbor state Florida, which also has abundant sunshine, but has been lagging in solar power development.