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June 25 - OP-ED: Solar Rising in Georgia

June 25, 2013 - Recent press reports across the country concerning Dublin High School have re-shaped the debate about solar’s place in Georgia as a no-fuel energy source for our homes, schools, places of worship, and businesses. As C.E.O. of Greenavations Power, my focus is to provide clean, reliable and cost-effective energy to organizations such as Dublin High School for years to come.

Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter and the Dublin School Board should be commended for having the courage to think ahead. Technology has now enabled us to avoid most high-cost daytime electricity and avoid speculation on future energy prices. Dublin High School and others have envisioned their future utility bills without solar and determined it too costly.

By freeing up capital and avoiding these future increases in the cost of electricity, our school systems and other institutions will have additional tools to remain financially solvent. Solar also has a tremendous ability to reduce the price of costly "peak" energy. A report released by Georgia Tech shows that an institution may pay as much as $3 per kilowatt hour for energy in the middle of the day (when the sun produces the best radiation for solar) versus an "averaged" rate of $0.07-$0.09 per kilowatt hour. Averaged rates obscure the real cost-savings potential of solar energy.

When new reactors at Plant Vogtle in Augusta go online in a few years, the Southern Company predicts that rates will increase 6-8%. It makes sense to use solar as a way to hedge against this and future EPA regulations that could be a dramatic shock to both utilities and ratepayers alike.

The Georgia Public Service Commission has the ability now to increase the amount of solar in our state so long as it can be deployed in a conservative way. As a lifelong Republican, I fully agree with this conservative approach and hope our state leads the South in ensuring that ratepayers benefit directly from lower electric costs in the near future.

Robert Green, C.E.O.
Greenavations Power
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