Tri-County EMC, a member owned electric co-op, is proud to announce commercial operation of a one megawatt (MW) community solar electricity generation farm in Eatonton, Georgia. The project was developed jointly between Tri-County EMC, Georgia Power and United Renewable Energy LLC. Tri-County EMC provides the low cost solar energy to its participating member-owners as a credit on their bill. Tri-County EMC was formed in 1939 by farmers and homeowners in Baldwin, Jones and Putnam counties and currently serves five additional counties, totaling more than 21,000 accounts. As a co-operative utility, it is owned by its members receiving electric service. “Many of our members have asked for a solar option,” said Greg Mullis, Tri-County EMC Senior Vice President. “This project makes economic and environmental sense. The low-cost, low-risk development of this project has allowed us to have a solar facility right here in our community that will supply our new ‘ourSolar’ program.”
This innovative program allows any member to participate, has no up-front cost associated with it and no long term contract. Programs like this are an alternative for any electricity user who does not have a house or business suitable for installing solar panels and for those who want to participate in clean renewable energy programs, without having to purchase or install panels themselves. “With ‘ourSolar’, Tri-County EMC members have the opportunity to get solar generation for their home or business without any of the risks of installing solar panels on their roof or property. The energy for ‘ourSolar’ comes from our new one MW solar array in Putnam County,” explained Mullis. “For $25 per month for each 1.22kW block, members receive all of the energy generated by the block credited against the normal usage on that month’s electric bill. Each block should generate approximately 160 to 250 kWh per month, depending on the weather and the time of year. Best of all, there is nothing to install or finance and no contract. You can end your participation at any time.”
The project was developed and will be owned and maintained by Georgia Power, which has a long-standing wholesale relationship with Tri-County EMC. United Renewable Energy LLC, a highly experienced solar developer, general and electrical contractor with headquarters in Georgia, assisted with the development of the project and provided Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services on behalf of Georgia Power for the Tri-County solar facility “We are proud to work with Tri-County EMC to bring solar energy to hundreds of their members in the most economical way, and be competitive with almost any other type of electricity generation,” said William Silva, CEO of United Renewable Energy LLC. “Georgia Power continues to innovate and bring extremely low cost solar energy to wholesale customers in the State of Georgia.”
Southern Company, through its multiple subsidiaries including Georgia Power, is a national leader in the development of renewable resources, with more than 4,000MW of renewable energy developed since 2012. “We are honored to serve Tri-County EMC, and this project allows Georgia Power to leverage its nearly one gigawatt of experience in solar energy, to provide Tri-County with an easy, low cost and low risk way of bringing solar resources to its members,” said Chris Bell, Vice President of Southern Wholesale Energy, the wholesale marketing subsidiary for Georgia Power. “We appreciate the close collaboration with Tri-County EMC, the broad support of the Eatonton community and our solar developer United Renewable Energy LLC. Creative and enduring partnerships like this allow each of us to provide clean, safe, reliable, affordable solar power for all of our customers, members and communities for decades to come. The 10 acre site has over 4,200 solar panels and will generate over 2.1 million kilowatt hours per year. The facility is located adjacent to Tri-County EMC’s Eatonton District Office in Putnam County, Georgia.