Solar Energy

What is solar energy and how do we use it?

Solar energy harnesses the natural power of the sun. Solar power is harvested via the use of solar panels, which are positioned in locations of maximum sun exposure (usually on rooftops). It can be used residentially and commercially.

Athens-Clarke County Solar Projects

Athens-Clarke County is committed to adding solar energy to our operations and to ensuring our citizens have easy access to solar energy systems for private use. In 2016, the Mayor and Commission adopted a resolution calling for an increasing percentage of renewable energy to be used in local government operations

Athens-Clarke County has been awarded SolSmart status in recognition of our support for the solar industry. The Sustainability Office worked with the International City/County Manager’s Association to complete the application. Athens-Clarke County was recognized as one of the top 100 communities for supporting solar in America. Athens-Clarke County scored very well on its permitting and zoning requirements and was recognized for having a path for same-day permit approval with an average residential permit costing under $100. This is a result of actions the Building and Permits Inspection and Planning Departments implemented to streamline solar energy permitting in 2015. The community received additional qualifying points for deploying solar on public facilities, participating in the Solarize Athens bulk buying program, and for UGA’s support of a solar demonstration project in Athens-Clarke County.

How can I use solar energy in my home?

Interested homeowners can see if solar energy is right for them using resources such as Georgia Power's and Jackson EMC's online tools. Further, Georgia Energy Data provides an interactive map for you to explore solar installations, capacity, installers, and manufacturers in your area.

Solar projects in Georgia are covered by a variety of state and local laws.
In Georgia, the Solar Energy Free-Market Financing Act defines how entities can use solar energy procurement agreements to "lease solar" or otherwise purchase solar energy from a system they do not own.

In Georgia, the Solar Easements Act creates a process to develop voluntary solar easements to ensure sunlight can continue to reach a solar energy system throughout its operating life.

A full view of national solar access laws is available from the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards.

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