Elko, Ga., May 11, 2022 – Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs), and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, were joined today by statewide elected officials and leaders from Houston County to dedicate the new 68-megawatt (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 thirty 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 U.S. 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.”
“Over the past eight years, Silicon Ranch has partnered with Green Power EMC and its member EMCs to invest approximately $1.5 billion in communities across the state, employing more than 5,000 Georgians to install well over one gigawatt of solar capacity,” said Silicon Ranch co-founder and chairman Matt Kisber. “Silicon Ranch is proud to extend this legacy to Houston County, a wonderful place to do business, and we want to thank IEA, Georgia Transmission Corporation, and the more than 300 Georgians who helped us build the world-class solar facility we dedicate today.”
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.
“My role serves to help Houston County grow and thrive, and through the collaboration and dedication of many integral local leaders, I am proud that this solar site will help our community do just that,” said Chairman of the Houston County Board of Commissioners Tommy Stalnaker. “This project was built by the hands of hundreds of residents from here in Houston County and the surrounding area, and thanks to the commitment of Georgia’s EMCs, this significant investment by Silicon Ranch will provide long-term economic benefits to our community for many years.”
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.”
“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.”
Regenerative Energy® delivers valuable environmental, social, and economic outcomes above and beyond the significant positive impacts a solar facility alone can generate, creating additional value for the Houston County community and project stakeholders. Silicon Ranch is working with local partners and organizations, including the Houston County Young Farmers Association, to develop additional programming to support internships and job training.
“Georgia’s EMCs have helped Georgia remain the #1 state to do business through their significant investment in market-driven clean energy,” said Georgia Public Service Commission Chairman Tricia Pridemore. “These solar projects not only support economic development in the local community, but also provide a strategic competitive advantage that can help attract new industries to invest in Georgia.”
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.
About Green Power EMC
Green Power EMC is a not-for-profit cooperative founded in 2001 to support 38 of Georgia’s electric cooperatives in their search for renewable resources. The primary efforts of Green Power EMC have been to find, screen, analyze, and negotiate power purchase agreements with Georgia-based renewable resource providers. In addition to sourcing renewable energy, Green Power EMC provides education programs that help member-consumers learn both the challenges and opportunities of utilizing renewable energy. For more information, visit greenpoweremc.com or follow Green Power EMC on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About Silicon Ranch
Founded in 2011, Silicon Ranch is a fully integrated provider of customized renewable energy, carbon, and battery storage solutions for a diverse set of partners across North America. The company is one of the largest independent power producers in the country, with a portfolio that includes more than four gigawatts of solar and battery storage systems that are contracted, under construction, or operating across the U.S. and Canada. Silicon Ranch owns and operates every project in its portfolio and has maintained an unblemished track record of project execution, having successfully commissioned every project it has contracted in its history. In recognition of its holistic approach to land management, which the company has trademarked Regenerative Energy®, Silicon Ranch was named 2020’s “Most Forward-Thinking” company by Solar Power World. In 2021, Silicon Ranch acquired Clearloop, which helps businesses of all sizes reclaim their carbon footprint with a direct investment in building new solar projects while expanding access to clean energy. To learn more, visit siliconranch.com, regenerativeenergy.org, and clearloop.us. Follow Silicon Ranch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.