Montana Busch, CEO of AES, submitted the following letter to the editor of the Gwinnett Daily Post:
As a citizen of Gwinnett County and a lifelong Georgian, I am excited about Georgia’s solar power industry. A decade ago, Georgia had virtually no solar industry. We now rank ninth nationwide in installed solar capacity, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While solar owned by utilities is growing quickly here, the “rooftop” sector of the solar industry – where home and business owners, schools, and non-profits install solar panels on their roofs – has been hindered by anti-solar policies. Currently, less than 4 percent of all solar installed in Georgia is rooftop solar owned by consumers. In some neighboring states that same figure is more than 20 percent.
Several bills introduced in the General Assembly this session eliminate critical barriers to solar energy owned by consumers. They give more Georgians access to the financial benefits of solar and reinforce monthly net metering as the law. Without a good net metering policy, utilities only pay the wholesale rate for excess solar power; when electricity flows in the other direction, they charge full price.
These bills also focus on removing predatory fees on consumer-owned solar power. Forty Georgia utilities charge monthly fees for going solar, some as high as $150/month, equal to nearly $50,000 over the life of the system. These bills address and eliminate predatory fees.
Georgia's rooftop solar power can be an economic engine fueling major economic growth for consumers in every corner of Georgia, creating clean, high-tech jobs for the future and putting power into the hands of the people.