Skip to main content.

Solar eclipse helps illustrate value of diverse energy mix

Natural events like today’s solar eclipse illustrate the value of a diverse energy mix to reliability and Georgia Power, the state’s largest electricity provider, remains committed to delivering reliability for customers every day. The company continues to make investments in the state’s energy infrastructure, including a diverse energy mix that includes an increasing amount of renewable energy (primarily solar) and hydro, as well as baseload forms of generation like natural gas and coal, as well 24/7 emission-free nuclear energy. This effective strategy means customers should not see any impact to service due to generation issues during rare events like a solar eclipse, or during more routine weather patterns like cloudy days, cold winter mornings, droughts or days with no wind, which can also affect renewable generation sources.

While today’s solar eclipse is only a “partial” solar eclipse in Georgia, many Georgians remember the 2017 “total” solar eclipse which brought near total darkness in the middle of the day. During the 2017 eclipse, solar energy production across Southern Company was reduced by more than 90%. As the sun reemerged following the eclipse, energy production returned to normal levels. The potential impact of this sort of “intermittent” production is something the company has to prepare for and plan for every day. Today, nearly seven years later, the company has significantly more solar facilities in use across Georgia, making diversification with “around-the clock” generation sources all the more important.

Nuclear energy remains a core component of Georgia Power’s baseload energy mix. Just last week, Georgia Power marked the latest milestone in the Plant Vogtle expansion near Waynesboro, Georgia when Unit 4 reached 100% power during startup testing – this is the maximum energy the unit is licensed to produce in the reactor core. Teams at the site continue startup testing for the unit, including safely running at various power levels and operating through real-life conditions, just as it will over the next 60 to 80 years after the unit enters commercial operation. Vogtle Unit 3 entered commercial operation in July 2023 and continues providing reliable, emission-free energy to Georgia today.

Georgia also continues its leadership in solar energy development and is conducting some of the largest renewable solicitations in the country. Georgia Power currently provides energy to customers from approximately 2,700 MW* of solar and anticipates continuing to add significant amounts of solar to benefit customers in the coming years. Alongside this growth, the company is adding resiliency to the grid and value for customers by investing in new technologies such as battery energy storage systems (BESS) that will store energy when it is generated by sources like solar at times it may not needed, to redispatch in key times such as hot summer afternoons and cold winter mornings. The company currently has 845 MW of BESS systems planned or under development, with consideration of a potential additional 1,000 MW of new BESS projects now underway by the Georgia Public Service Commission as part of the company’s 2023 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Update.

*REC Disclaimer: A portion of the renewable generation reported above includes capacity where the third-party generator or subscribing customer retains the related Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). The party that owns the RECs retains the right to make renewable energy claims in connection with the RECs.