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Georgia BRIGHT Installs Solar Panels To Fight Rising Power Bills

Photo Courtesy Vivint Solar

The Georgia BRIGHT program helps households and nonprofits reduce energy costs by installing rooftop solar panels. Announced in September 2023, the pilot program comes in response to last summer’s 12% increase in price for Georgia Power customers, which has resulted in a jump of almost $200 per year per customer for Peach State consumers. 

That increase has hit fixed-income residents hard. Georgia BRIGHT hopes to help those affected afford their bills while bolstering environmental sustainability, economic resilience, and social equity for all.

The Georgia BRIGHT Solar leasing program will be available to Georgia families living in Metro Atlanta, including Fulton and DeKalb counties, Greater Savannah, and Athens.

As the Georgia Power increase has made living more economically challenging for many residents, solar installations have become more affordable through a combination of federal tax credits and grants and bulk purchase opportunities. 

Georgia BRIGHT capitalizes on those opportunities, helping residents who own their own homes, have a roof in good condition, and meet income requirements to install cost-cutting solar panels. Once approved, Georgia BRIGHT sends out partner local installers Sunpath Solar, Better Tomorrow Solar, and Be Smart Home Solutions to attach the panels. 

Photo Courtesy Capital Good Fund

Once the panels are installed, the program uses a leasing model, where participants pay a monthly fee to Georgia BRIGHT to lease the panels. The program covers any installation and maintenance costs. Participants can buy out the lease after six years to fully own the solar panel system.

According to Savannah’s Office of Sustainability, homeowners have no upfront costs and can expect savings of around 15% on their electricity costs — monthly rental fees average $47 per month.

“There’s no waiting for a return on your investment,” Alicia Brown, interim director of Savannah’s Office of Sustainability, explained to the Savannah Morning News. “It’s really a whole new level of inclusion that we haven’t seen in Georgia.”

Photo Courtesy Kindel Media

Georgia BRIGHT is a project of the nonprofit Capital Good Fund, a Rhode Island-based community development financial institution that uses financial services to tackle poverty and climate change.

“Solar has been largely inaccessible to low-income communities,” Andy Posner, Capital Good Fund CEO and founder, said in a press release. “If no one is giving them the opportunity, you’re increasing that income gap, because the wealthiest people will access it and further increase their wealth profile.”

Photo Courtesy Capital Good Fund

 According to the Georgia BRIGHT website, since launching in September 2023, the program has worked with nearly 200 households, all of whom have an annual income of less than $100,000. Interested homeowners and nonprofits, including schools and houses of worship, can go to the Georgia BRIGHT website for a free evaluation.

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