Green Power EMC has been named the 2016 Solar Power Players Electric Cooperative Utility of the Year by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). The recognition took place on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Solar Power International (SPI) in Las Vegas. The award honors electric utilities and their industry partners for creating programs embodying the innovation and collaboration that drives smart utility solar growth and expands access to distributed energy technologies for their customers.
Green Power EMC was cited for helping 38 electric cooperatives in Georgia implement a comprehensive solar strategy that increased the solar capacity under development by co-ops in the state from 7.5 megawatts (MW) to 240 MW. By banding together, the co-ops were able to take advantage of economies of scale, resulting in very low-cost project power purchase agreements. Green Power EMC and its member cooperatives also designed a community solar-type program known as Cooperative Solar, which now provides clean power and bill credits to almost 4,000 customers at seven co-ops across the state. More co-ops are expected to join the program by the end of the year. Green Power EMC has also provided solar training for more than 1,500 utility staff in the state.
“We are excited and honored to be recognized along with our member co-ops for successfully developing and implementing a comprehensive, strategy-based solar program that brings long-term benefits to consumers across Georgia,” said Jeff Pratt, president and CEO of Green Power EMC. “This submission had a comprehensive, holistic view of solar. It developed internal expertise and training, a successful community solar program, and project development,” said judge Alison Kling, senior specialist, Distributed Generation at Con Edison of New York, which was last year’s Investor-Owned Utility of the Year. “The coordination of so many co-ops was very impressive. This had a larger scale of actually getting solar done and in the ground, and offers customers a lot of flexibility in how they approach solar.” The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit working to facilitate the utility industry’s transition to a clean energy future through education, research and collaboration.