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Solar trade group questions Georgia Power distributed generation program

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Solar trade group questions Georgia Power distributed generation program

Georgia PowerCo. is sparring with the state's solar industry trade group overwhy the utility may not be on track to add 100 MW of distributed generation tothe grid by year-end.

The Georgia Solar Energy Industries Association in aSeptember filing asserted that Georgia Power's directive of having 100 MW ofdistributed generation under contract by the end of 2016 is undersubscribed byroughly 35 MW. The GSEIA based its assertion on data through the utility'ssubmittal for contract approval to state regulators as of the end of August.The solar trade group also noted that Georgia Power intended to stop evaluatingand awarding projects under its "Advanced Solar Initiative — Prime,"or ASI Prime, program on Sept. 30.

The GSEIA called on the Georgia Public Service Commission toenforce its order for Georgia Power to complete full subscription of 100 MW ofdistributed generation by the end of 2016, as part of the utility's integratedresource plan approved in2013.

The GSEIA also asked the commission to clarify and push backthe required commercial operation dates for selected distributed generationprojects to account for Georgia Power's "delay in project review andaward," and to require the utility to provide evidence justifying itsdecision for rejected projects.

Georgia Power responded in a strongly worded filing Sept.19, describing the GSEIA's motion as based on "misinformation andconjecture." Since Georgia Power launched the distributed generationprogram in 2015, it has evaluated 395 individual projects totaling more than303 MW. Out of those, 106 MW were disqualified because they required more than$10,000 in distribution system upgrades to connect to the grid, more than 35 MWwere withdrawn by bidders and more than 11 MW were disqualified for violatingother program guidelines.

That more than 152 MW of the solicitation capacity failed toresult in viable projects was not anticipated, Georgia Power said, but it hasbeen adjusting the schedule accordingly working with PSC staff and anindependent monitor.

"GSEIA's criticisms fail to acknowledge, and indeeddismiss the level of commitment and resources that have gone into theimplementation of the program from the Company, Staff and the [independentmonitor]. In that regard, its motion is nothing more than another example ofGSEIA's selective interpretation used to drive a narrative that lackssupport," Georgia Power wrote in the filing, adding that it, "doesnot have the time to peddle in conjecture like GSEIA."

Georgia Power said its 100 MW distributed generationportfolio would have been fully subscribed if successful bidders had notterminated or withdrawn winning projects after being awarded a power purchaseagreement. The utility added that it is "very close" to evaluatingall MW submitted for consideration as it continues to attempt to fill the full100 MW portfolio for its ASI Prime program. (Georgia Docket No. 36325)