Georgia has not been living up to its solar energy potential, but a strong solar community in the state is pushing for growth. That push will get a little extra oomph behind the movement at the fourth annual Southern Solar Summit in Atlanta on June 15.
“It’s going to be our best ever,” said Julie Hairston, communications director for the Georgia Solar Energy Association. Rhone Resch, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association will be the keynote speaker at the event. “We see that as a national recognition of our solar development potential,” Hairston said.
She said the state’s solar industry has been growing and that there have been a lot of advances lately even if Georgia isn’t at the top of people’s minds when they think of solar.
“We have not had the kind of robust growth in solar that some other states like California and New Jersey have had,” she said. But solar energy advocates have been pushing policy-makers to implement the changes that will drive growth.
“We have a thriving solar community here that runs the gamut,” Hairston said. “We have everyone from consumers to manufacturers, installers. We have the whole supply chain represented right here in Georgia.”
It’s just a matter of time and implementing the right policies to help the industry grow, she said. “We’re reaching toward our potential,” she said.
Several studies have highlighted Georgia’s solar potential. Arizona State University published a study in 2011 that ranked the state third in the nation for potential development because of its high energy cost, geographic position and solar resource. Most reports rank Georgia in the top 10 for the number of sunny days.
In addition to an appearance from Resch, Col. Dan Nolan, retired from the U.S. Army, will speak about the military commitment to renewable energy. Nolan founded the military Green Hawks and was featured in the documentary Carbon Nation. “We’re really excited,” Hairston said. “There’s a lot going on here.”
image courtesy of Georgia Tech