Solarize Atlanta 2018

As a reminder to engage in your local community of green building professionals, I am sharing some highlights of a recent local event called Solarize Atlanta Commercial Building Town Hall.

Solarize is a community-based solar photovoltaic bulk-purchasing campaign.

Sponsors of the campaign hosted a brief panel presentation moderated by Cecilia Shutters, Director of Sustainability for Livable Buckhead.

The Goal = 100% Clean Energy

First, a little back story. As part of Atlanta’s Resilience Strategy, the city adopted a 100% clean energy goal by 2035. The clean energy plan include milestones for city owned facilities, commercial buildings and residential buildings to implement energy efficiency measures, produce on-site renewable energy, and offset any remainders. City owned property, including the water department and the airport are supported through the Mayor’s Office. Solarize Atlanta is supporting the residential and commercial building adoption of solar panels as part of the 100% clean energy plan.

The Politician

John R. Seydel, Director of Sustainability for City of Atlanta opened up the event by sharing high level solar statistics.

  • Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), dollar per dollar matching, ending in 2019
    • Dropping from 30% income tax rebate to 10% over next 5 years
  • Find solar tax credits at
  • Commercial consumption is 60% of electricity
  • National cost of solar installation dropped 64% over past 5 years
  • Georgia is 8th state in nation for solar installations (dropped from 3rd in 2016)
    • 1.477 MW currently installed
    • 2.256 MW planned for next five years

The Entrepreneur

Don Moreland, President at Solar Crowdsource and Chair of Georgia Solar Energy Association presented the argument about why solar now.

    • Georgia State solar tax credit expired in 2013; no rebates, no net-metering.
    • Georgia Power practices ‘bi-directional metering’
      • Purchase your extra energy at an ‘avoided cost’ (ie. wholesale rate), then resell it at a retail rate, profiting from your investment
    • New Federal tariff levels out at 2022, and does NOT inflate project cots by 30%
      • Because panels are only 35-40% of total cost of project
    • Electricity rates are projected to grow by 12% by 2023 (typically 2% annual)

The Takeaway

2018/19 is the *Sweet Spot* for Solar in Georgia

Don’t miss out! Get Involved Today

Solarize Across the Nation

There are at least 250 DOE funded Solarize programs in the US. The legacy in Georgia started in Tybee Island, Georgia’s favorite beach vacation spot. It evolved into Solarize Savannah, Dekalb, and Dunwoody. Now it’s coming to Atlanta.

Solarize Benefits:

  • Affordable – Remove barriers to participation through bulk-purchasing
  • Accessible – Streamline permitting process with City partnership
  • 1 Contractor – Reduce barrier of uncertainty
  • New ASHRAE 90.1 code (under development) requires 5% on-site renewable
  • Opportunity of a generation/Lifetime

Solarize Facts and Figures

  • 5 year ROI, and 25 year warranty
  • Timeline from proposal to installation: 6-8 weeks
  • Atlanta Launch in April 2018

Financing Models

  • SEPA (Solar Energy Procurement Agreement) AKA ‘Power Purchase Agreements’
    • No out-of-pocket costs to building owner
    • Host solar development on your roof
    • Option to purchase clean energy
  • REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust)
    • For large invested assets; similar to a mutual fund
  • PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy)
    • Fast growing program for local and state governments
    • DOE best practices
    • Synergy with Invest Atlanta, Atlanta’s Development authority