New 68-MW solar project will power 30 electric co-ops in Georgia

Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs), and Silicon Ranch were joined today by statewide elected officials and leaders from Houston County to dedicate the new 68-MWAC Houston Solar Project near Perry, Georgia. Located just off I-75, the Houston Solar site is one of the most visible solar energy projects in the state and showcases how Georgia’s electric cooperatives are working together to meet the renewable energy demands of Georgia’s residents and businesses.

The project marks clean energy generation from the seventh utility-scale solar facility brought online by partners Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch. The energy generated by the Houston Solar project is shared by 30 EMCs from across the state and will provide enough low-cost, renewable energy to help power 11,000 EMC households annually. By working together, Georgia’s EMCs are taking advantage of economies of scale, resulting in lower-cost solar power — savings that are passed on to their member-consumers. Their collaboration through this unique model has enabled Georgia’s EMCs to cement their role as a national leader among all US electric cooperatives in utility-scale solar energy development.

Public representatives attending the event included Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Members of the Georgia General Assembly and the Georgia Public Service Commission, as well as locally elected officials and leaders from Houston County.

“The Houston Solar project further demonstrates the commitment of Georgia’s EMCs to providing their consumers with cost-effective renewable energy that strives to meet the needs of a cleaner energy future,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “This site uses advanced technology to maximize its clean energy production, and the benefits are multiplied by creating jobs, driving economic development and delivering significant tax revenue to the local government and school system for decades to come.”

The project was commissioned on schedule after first being announced in November 2020 by Gov. Brian Kemp, who commended the partnership between Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch for their role in supporting economic development throughout the state.

Following the dedication ceremony, attendees were given the opportunity to tour the facility and see firsthand how Silicon Ranch is co-locating regenerative agriculture practices on the same property where it is generating renewable energy. Through the company’s Regenerative Energy platform, Silicon Ranch livestock managers will deploy hundreds of sheep to enrich the soil and restore the land to a functioning grassland ecosystem.

“The model that Silicon Ranch has implemented here, where large flocks of sheep are managing the land and vegetation under the solar panels, is the future of responsible solar development in the US, and that future was started in Georgia,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. “This innovative renewable energy project keeps land productive, creates new good-paying jobs for our rural workforce, and puts Georgia agriculture in the spotlight of innovation on the national stage.”

Under the terms of the 30-year agreement with Silicon Ranch, Green Power EMC will purchase all the energy and environmental attributes generated by the site on behalf of its member EMCs, while Silicon Ranch owns and operates the facility.

News item from Silicon Ranch

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