“Georgia Power supported this legislation because we believe it allows for solar development in a responsible, cost-effective way that preserves the integrity and reliability of the grid and does not burden the nonsolar customer,” the spokesman, John Kraft, said in a statement.
Solar advocates said the legislation would give consumers, small businesses and schools more affordable ways to get solar energy from their rooftops. It would help property owners avoid steep upfront costs for solar panels by allowing them to enter into agreements for solar companies or local utilities to finance, own and maintain rooftop systems. Under a scenario popular in other states, consumers could essentially lease the systems, tapping into the energy for a monthly fee.
Dudgeon pushed it as a vote for the free market. The House passed HB 57 in February.
Brion Fitzpatrick, the chairman of the Georgia Solar Energy Association, said after Friday’s vote that the bill “shows how working together toward a common goal can transcend political divisions and produce lasting, productive results for all of Georgia.”
The bill comes as solar companies have complained that uncertainty about what’s allowed under Georgia law has made it hard to sell homeowners, small businesses, churches and schools on solar financing.
More than two dozen other states allow solar companies to cover the cost of new solar systems, own the equipment and then sell the power back to the customers.