Political Notebook

Advocates credit EMC for removing fees they say unfairly targeted solar customers

Pin Strikes facility engineer Will Ehlers says the solar panels mounted on the roof of the big building sometimes need a wash but mainly keeping things clean is the key to capturing the sun's energy. 03/29/2017
Pin Strikes facility engineer Will Ehlers says the solar panels mounted on the roof of the big building sometimes need a wash but mainly keeping things clean is the key to capturing the sun's energy. 03/29/2017 bcabell@macon.com

A utility corporation has made some changes after some customers voiced frustration about overpriced solar energy costs.

Central Georgia EMC has removed a tariff and implemented new policies that will reduce the cost for customers using solar power. And two leading solar energy organizations said in a statement they’re hopeful more utility companies will follow the actions taken by the electric corp.

A Central Georgia EMC customer told The Telegraph in April that because of the tariff and fees it could take him decades to recoup the $18,000 he invested into solar panels.

But the new policy that went into effect Nov. 1, including the elimination of a $7 per kilowatt charge on solar installations, will benefit solar power customers, a news release said.

The Georgia Solar Energy Association, the Southern Environmental Law Center and Vote Solar were involved in the negotiations with Central Georgia EMC.

“We are grateful to CGEMC for heeding its solar customer’s complaints about the unfair nature of these recent policies,” said Don Moreland, chairman of the Georgia Solar Energy Association. “CGEMC engaged with us fully in meaningful dialogue about the impact of solar and have adjusted their solar rates and charges in good faith.

“We hope other power providers around the state will follow its example with fair, common-sense policies for their solar customers,” Moreland said.

The solar industry in Georgia employs about 4,000 people and has experienced more than 20 percent job growth the last couple of years. Georgia ranks No. 8 in the country in terms of cumulative solar capacity installed, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

For more information on solar in Georgia, visit www.gasolar.org.

Stanley Dunlap: 478-744-4623, @stan_telegraph

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