Solar Power

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Cooperative solar allows customers who couldn’t normally participate, those with shady yards or rental properties, to take advantage of solar.  Walton Energy Membership Corporation, which serves northeast Georgia, is attracting some big industry players with its cooperative solar program.

Facebook chose Walton EMC for a proposed 100% renewable energy data center in Newton County.

Alice Walker, the author of the The Color Purple, turns 75 this Saturday. The Georgia Writers Museum, a nonprofit organization and exhibit space that educates the public about the state’s rich literary heritage, will host a one-day celebration of Walker’s birthday. Valerie Boyd, editor of Walker’s forthcoming journals, joined On Second Thought to talk about Alice Walker’s legacy.


Ross Terrell / GPB

Barbara C. lives in a modest, one-story, three-bedroom home in Washington, Georgia. She’s 73 years old and has lived there since 1977 when she had the house built.

It’s sits on a plot of land across from a cemetery, separated by a tree covered chain link fence. The house is decorated with older, worn furniture. And inside those walls, she’s raised her two kids and sometimes her four grandkids.  

Barbara is retired and on a fixed income, but she has a pretty big problem. 

“Sometimes my utility bill be half of my income coming in on the 30th,” she said sifting through months of utility bills, pondering why they’re so high. But she simply doesn’t know.

Josephine Bennett

When the Public Service Commission wraps up its once-every-three-year energy plan later this month, it expects to announce a massive increase in solar farms. But when it comes to residential solar, Georgia gets an “F.” 

Despite that failing grade from the nonprofit Solar Crowd Source, installers here are swamped. That’s because at the end of the year the federal government will begin phasing out a 30% federal tax credit for residential solar.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech is creating what it calls the most environmentally friendly building in the Southeast. It collects its own water and solar power, and uses them to satisfy energy needs and irrigate nearby vegetation.

This "living building" is on track to break ground later this year. We get a preview of this new structure from Howard Wertheimer, the school’s assistant vice president for capital planning and space management.

Solar Energy Industries Association

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, it is unclear what effect his administration might have on renewable energy. Trump has raised concerns about wind and solar energy, and several of his Cabinet picks have ties to the oil and gas industry. However, the renewable fuel industry may have reason to be hopeful.

As​ ​President-elect​ ​Donald​ ​Trump​ ​prepares​ ​to​ ​take​ ​office,​ ​it’s​ ​unclear​ ​what affect​ ​his​ ​administration​ ​might​ ​have​ ​on​ ​renewable​ ​energy,​ ​like​ ​solar​ ​and wind.​ ​Several​ ​of​ ​his​ ​Cabinet​ ​picks​ ​have​ ​ties​ ​to​ ​the​ ​oil​ ​and​ ​gas​ ​industry. 

Trump​ ​is​ ​also​ ​a​ ​vocal​ ​supporter​ ​of​ ​coal.​ ​But​ ​the​ ​renewable​ ​fuel​ ​industry may​ ​have​ ​reason​ ​to​ ​be​ ​hopeful.​ ​A​ ​new​ ​report​ ​by​ ​the​ ​World​ ​Economic Forum​ ​says​ ​in​ ​more​ ​than​ ​30​ ​countries,​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​wind​ ​and​ ​solar​ ​power has​ ​dropped​ ​to​ ​rates​ ​that​ ​are​ ​the​ ​same​ ​or​ ​cheaper​ ​than​ ​fossil​ ​fuels.​ ​And that​ ​could​ ​be​ ​good​ ​news​ ​for​ ​Georgia,​ ​as​ ​our​ ​state​ ​is​ ​a​ ​leader​ ​in​ ​the​ ​solar industry. We speak to ​Peter​ ​Dykstra, ​publisher​ ​of​ ​Environmental​ ​Health News.​ ​And ​Don​ ​Moreland,​ ​chair​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Georgia Solar​ ​Energy​ ​Association.​