New report outlines vision for how Atlanta can become the South’s solar energy leader

For Immediate Release

Atlanta, GA—Environment Georgia Research and Policy Center today released a new report outlining Atlanta's huge potential to become the South's solar leader.

The report, A Bright Future: Building a Solar Atlanta, provides a roadmap to help Atlanta get 10 percent of its energy from the sun by 2030

“Atlanta has the sun, the public leadership, the engaged citizens, and the budding solar business sector to transform into the South’s solar leader,” said Environment Georgia State Advocate Jennette Gayer. “Solar energy is a proven, pollution-free resource, by making bold goals now Atlanta can build a homegrown, solar economy.”

The report found that Atlanta can reduce its global warming pollution by more than 712,000 metric tons every year by generating 10 percent of its energy using solar and ramping up its use of solar water heaters at the same time.

Environment Georgia Research and Policy Center released the report in front of the headquarters of CHRIS Kids, a nonprofit in Atlanta that saves $248/month by using solar to create energy and heat water.

"For us, solar is a win-win," explained Kathy Colbenson CHRIS Kids Chief Executive Officer. "We save money on our electric bills, contribute to the power grid and teach the kids in our programs about sustainability and responsibility for our planet and the air we breathe."

Kenny Hughes with the Georgia Solar Energy Association and Dakin Spain with Radiance Solar joined Gayer in releasing the report and discussed just how widespread the benefits of Atlanta going solar could be.

"Solar projects in Atlanta mean jobs for Atlantans," said Radiance Solar's Dakin Spain. "Solar provides professional level jobs for system designers, engineers, sales executives, installers, and project managers. This spurs local economic development and recovery. Solar can't be outsourced."

Radiance Solar has completed over 100 solar projects in Atlanta, including the solar installed on the CHRIS Kids headquarters in East Lake.

Atlanta currently has around 2 MW of installed solar capacity, to boost its solar capacity to 10% of Atlanta’s total energy consumption by 2030 the city will need to increase solar installations roughly 38 percent every year. Georgia Power is currently enacting a plan that proposes a growth rate of around 40 percent for the next 3 years.

“Georgia historically has been ranked in the lower two-thirds for total solar installations in the country, yet is ranked as one of the top states for solar potential,” said Kenny Hughes, Director of Sales for Suniva and a Board Member of the Georgia Solar Energy Association, the leading voice for Georgia’s 1,700 solar professionals. “The Georgia Solar Energy Association is happy to see Georgia Power's Advance Solar Initiative poised to increase solar installations by more than ten times over the next three years and look forward to new opportunities in Atlanta and beyond to increase our solar investment.”

John Sibley a senior policy fellow with Southface, who provided peer review for the report said Atlanta is well positioned to step up its solar game--

"With a history of support for Earthcraft and LEED buildings and new programs like the Better Buildings Challenge, Atlanta has shown the South how beneficial energy efficient building can be," said Sibley. "The South is in need of a leader, and Atlanta is the obvious choice."