The Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) approved the installation of one megawatt of solar generation in the right-of-way along Interstate 85 in Troup County, Ga., during a hearing on the Georgia Power Company’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The motion was proposed by Commissioner Tim Echols of the GPSC and passed at two separate administrative sessions on July 28th and September 8th. Votes were 4-1 and 3-2 respectively.
“I’m very excited about the potential of The Ray and its ability to demonstrate roadside solar as another form of alternative energy,” said GPSC Chairman Chuck Eaton.
The Georgia Power Company will own the project, and construction must be completed by December 2019. Possible benefits of the solar pilot project to the highway system could include interstate lighting, among other things.
"The pilot project approved by the Public Service Commission in conjunction with The Ray and GDOT will be one of Georgia Power's most unique," said Commissioner Tim Echols, who championed the motion. "We continue to add more and more solar to our grid, bringing our state into the top tier of renewable energy nationwide.”
The development and installation of right-of-way solar is an innovative project of The Ray, an 18-mile corridor on Interstate 85 from the Georgia-Alabama line to Exit 18, including the cities of West Point and LaGrange. The Ray is named in memory of sustainable business pioneer Ray C. Anderson and is a proving ground for ideas and technologies that will transform the transportation infrastructure of the future to be safer, more climate friendly and more economically generative.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) played a critical role in supporting the integration of right-of-way solar into the 2016 IRP and advancing the GPSC’s support of the initiative through a letter of support issued during the comment period. This project has provided a historically unprecedented opportunity for increased interagency cooperation between the GPSC and GDOT.
The implementation of right-of-way solar and deployment of renewable energy generation assets in the state-owned and maintained right-of-way is a first in Georgia. A half-dozen similar projects are operational nationwide.
“This pilot with GDOT, the Georgia Power Company and the Georgia Public Service Commission will help us understand how we can use our roadsides for generating clean solar energy, at a competitive price, while keeping drivers safe,” said Harriet Langford, president of The Ray. “This opportunity is so important for Georgia because we are rich in the resources – we have so much sunshine and so much empty right-of way.”
About The Ray
The Ray is a proving ground for the evolving ideas and technologies that will transform the transportation infrastructure of the future, beginning with the corridor of road that is named in memory of Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), a Georgia native who became a captain of industry and was recognized as a leader in green business when he challenged his company, Atlanta-based Interface, Inc., to reimagine the enterprise as a sustainable company – one that would pursue zero environmental footprint. Chaired by Ray’s daughter Harriet Langford, The Ray is an epiphany of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Learn more at www.theray.org.
About the Georgia Public Service Commission
The Georgia Public Service Commission is a five-member constitutional agency that exercises its authority and influence to ensure that consumers receive safe, reliable, and reasonably-priced telecommunications, electric and natural gas service from financially viable and technically competent companies. For more information on the Commission visit our web site at www.psc.state.ga.
About the Georgia Department of Transportation
The Georgia Department of Transportation is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment. Visit www.dot.ga.gov. Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/GeorgiaDOT) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/gadeptoftrans).