Flint Adds Solar Capacity to Serve Members
Date: 09/26/2016 | Category: News
By the end of 2016, Flint Energies will add significant solar resources to serve its members across Middle Georgia.“Through a purchased power agreement, Flint will add a large amount of solar energy to its mix of power generation resources,” said Sr. Vice President Jimmy Autry. “15 megawatts (15,000 kilowatts) of solar energy will come from the new Sandhills solar project just outside of Butler.” Sandhills is owned by Southern Power, a subsidiary of the Southern Company.
“We believe that our members want their cooperative to be an aggressive user of solar power resources,” said Autry. “And most members are not able to take advantage of rooftop solar due to home ownership, tree cover, old roofs, or homes not oriented to face the sun. So we make solar an important part of the power generation mix for all of our members’ to use.”
This utility-scale solar addition is not the first for Flint. The not-for-profit cooperative is a pioneer in providing renewable power generation resources to its members. The first renewable project in the State of Georgia was built at the Taylor County landfill back in 2003. Through its membership in Green Power EMC, Flint also takes power output from the Wolf Creek (Twiggs County) landfill, the Rooker (Athens) solar array, and the Silicon Ranch (Hazlehurst) solar farm to meet the needs of its members.
Green Power EMC also provides energy to Flint from the Rabun Gap biomass (Rabun Gap) waste wood generators in the mountains of North Georgia, and from the 150-kilowatt solar array in front of Clean Control Corporation in Warner Robins.
Prior to the new solar purchases, Flint’s largest renewable power project was located at the Houston County Landfill where 3,200 kilowatts of output is generated using the waste methane gas to serve members of Flint. The Robins Air Force Base Museum of Aviation is the largest renewable energy user on Flint’s system, getting 100% of their power from green resources.
“Flint Energies is committed to an “all of the above” energy strategy, seeking power supply from every type of generation fuel,” said Autry. “Solar is an important part of the mix. Since the sun doesn’t shine all the time, we have other resources that can assure our members are well-served at all times of the day and night, on the coldest winter mornings and the hottest summer afternoons.”
Flint’s current power generation mix includes hydroelectric power from the dams on the Savannah River, natural gas, coal, and the mix of renewables listed above. Flint is in discussions about adding more solar generation. In 2019, Flint will add a small amount of nuclear power generation to the mix.
Power supply planning is a continuous process at Flint.
“I love to tell our members that the power they are using right now was planned, financed, constructed, operated, and maintained beginning 20-40 years ago” said Autry. “Our cooperative makes plans and signs power supply contracts which can be 10-25 years long so that future members never worry about where the power will come from to serve them. Solar is a growing part of that plan to serve everyone at Flint.”
Utility-scale solar – Large scale deployment of solar panels, usually more than 1 megawatt (1,000 kilowatts) of capacity. Often owned by private merchants who generate power and sell it under contract to electric distribution utilities. The Butler, GA projects are utility-scale.
Community solar – Smaller scale deployments of solar panels, usually less than 500 kilowatts. May be owned by a utility and sold in shares (by panel) to consumers or by kilowatt-hour output. Flint does not offer community solar at this time.
Rooftop solar – Consumer-owned and maintained solar panels installed on the roof of homes or businesses or on land adjacent to the home. Consumers use the output for their own purposes, and may sell back excess (if any) to the utility. Flint has 20 members who have invested in their own rooftop solar and are interconnected to the Flint system.
Demonstration solar – Flint has installed one 1-kilowatt solar panel at Huntington Middle School in Warner Robins as a science project demonstration. Two more 1-kilowatt panels are to be installed at Marion County Middle/High School and at Thomson Middle School in Warner Robins.
About Flint Energies www.flintenergies.com
Incorporated in 1937, Flint Energies is a not-for-profit member-owned electric cooperative that provides energy services to residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural members in parts of 17 central Georgia counties. Flint has 240 employees and serves more than 88,600 meters. Flint's physical plant consists of more than 6,680 miles of distribution line and 50 substations located within Bibb, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Dooly, Harris, Houston, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, Talbot, Twiggs and Upson Counties. The system also includes the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base and the Fort Benning military post. Flint is the eighth largest of Georgia's 41 EMCs and the 37th largest of the nation's nearly 1,000 rural electric cooperatives.
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Flint Energies is an equal opportunity provider and employer.