Monroe, Ga. – For the fourth consecutive year, consumer-owned Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) is a leader among Southeast utilities in solar power development, according to a newly published report by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE).
Walton EMC is again included on SACE’s SunRiser list, which recognizes seven Southeast utilities experiencing the greatest solar power growth. The co-op ranks first among all Georgia electric utilities.
The co-op currently distributes 1,750 watts of solar power per customer-owner. By 2025, that number is expected to rise to 4,064 watts per customer — a standard that will keep the cooperative at the top of the list of southeastern solar power distributors and boost Georgia’s overall solar generation per customer. Georgia produced 2,970 megawatts of solar energy in 2021.
Walton EMC’s continued expansion of its solar portfolio for Meta (formerly the Facebook company) represents a large percentage of solar energy development for the state. The cooperative is providing 100 percent renewable energy for Meta’s advanced, energy-efficient data center in Newton County.
In collaboration with Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent power producers, Walton EMC generates carbon-free renewable solar energy at six solar facilities in the state. The projects generate a total of 435 megawatts on behalf of Meta. A seventh facility now under construction will add another 125 megawatts of solar power when Silicon Ranch completes it later this year. Silicon Ranch pioneered utility-scale solar in Georgia and has invested more than $750 million across seven Georgia communities in support of its partnership with Walton EMC.
Also contributing to Walton EMC’s leadership in renewable energy is the co-op’s Cooperative Solar program. Launched in 2015, the renewable energy initiative allows Walton EMC customer-owners to buy blocks of solar power to offset the electricity they use that is generated by traditional means. The program now encompasses three solar farms that annually produce 6.5 megawatts of solar electricity — enough energy to completely satisfy the power needs of about 1,100 homes.
Walton EMC ranked second in the Southeast for the highest increase in solar watts per customer in 2021. The region includes electric utilities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.