In Georgia, Lauren “Bubba” McDonald is showing that solar energy is not a partisan issue.

McDonald is a lifelong Republican, the chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, and one of the state’s biggest advocates for solar energy.

He joined the commission, which oversees the state power utility, in 1998.

McDonald has always been interested in market-driven, clean power. But it was not until 2013 that he felt the time was right …

McDonald: “I called it the perfect storm for solar. Technology of solar had just excelled tremendously, the price of solar had decreased significantly, interest rates were very favorable for long-term financing.”

Lauren ‘Bubba’ McDonald helped make solar part of the state’s energy mix.

The commission directed the state’s power utility to add 525 megawatts of solar power to its energy mix over the next three years. That’s enough to power 50,000 homes.

The Army, Navy, and Marines are taking advantage of the opportunity. They’re building solar installations that will add a 120 megawatts of energy to their bases in Georgia.

McDonald might have kicked things off, but says he could not have accomplished so much by himself.

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McDonald: “I’m proud of the Georgia commission. We’re visionaries I think.”

Reporting credit: Justyna Bicz/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Solar photo: Copyright protected.

Sara Peach

Sara Peach is the Senior Editor of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist, and...