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Walton Utility Cooperative Offers Solar Power To Customers

first_img Share ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Party 0:43 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility For Whom The Bell Rings Related Stories Customers who get their electricity from the Walton Electric Membership Corporation can now reserve solar panels.The utility, which is owned by its members and serves mostly Gwinnett and Walton counties, has installed 4,280 solar panels at a new facility in Monroe.Georgia Tech electrical and computer engineering professor Ajeet Rohatgi, who has been studying solar power for more than 40 years, said it used to be pricey.Cheaper Solar “In 1975, solar energy was almost 80 times more expensive than fossil fuels,” Rohatgi said. “And now in some parts of the world, it’s actually cheaper.”He said that’s because of improvements in technology and more solar panels being manufactured, factors  that are driving down costs.“Fossil fuels are becoming more scarce, so the price of electricity from fossil fuels is going to continue to increase and the price from solar is going to continue to decrease,” Rohatgi said.In Georgia, solar panels are almost becoming cost-competitive.“It’s going to be probably just a little more than our regular rates would be,” said Greg Brooks of the Walton Electric Membership Corporation.Community SolarCustomers will pay $25 per month for five solar panels. In exchange, they’ll get a credit on their bill for the amount of energy the panels produce.“This is the first one of its size anywhere for community solar,” said Jamie Porges, co-founder of Radiance Solar. His company built the six-acre facility in Monroe. He said more solar cooperative projects in Georgia are likely.They’re expected to produce about 180 to 260 kilowatt hours per month, but it depends on the sun’s angle and weather. Because solar panels don’t involve rooftop installation, renters can also participate in the program.“A lot of people are interested in the environmental aspect of it,” Brooks said. “They believe in solar power, they think it shows a lot of promise.”Brooks said more than 100 customers have signed up thus far for the service, which begins July 1.last_img read more