Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs), and independent solar power producers Silicon Ranch, showed off 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.
This is the 7th utility-scale solar facility brought online by Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch. The energy generated by the Houston Solar project is shared by 30 EMCs from across the state and help power 11,000 EMC households annually.
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.
Over the past eight years, Silicon Ranch has partnered with Green Power EMC to invest approximately $1.5 billion in communities across the state, installing over 1 GW of solar capacity.
Georgia’s EMCs say their collaboration helps take advantage of economies of scale, resulting in lower-cost solar power, with the savings passed on to member-consumers.
The project was commissioned on schedule after first being announced in November 2020 by Governor 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.
“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.”
“We are proud to help our members grow their diverse generation portfolio with affordable solar energy that benefits their consumers while also delivering meaningful value to the land, the local community and the environment,” said Green Power EMC President Jeff Pratt. “The Houston Solar project illustrates Georgia’s EMCs’ commitment to and leadership in responsible solar development.”
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.
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.”
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