COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Big savings are in store for Fort Benning and thousands of homes in the Valley as a new solar plant near post is bringing in more energy than originally expected.
The shift towards solar energy has been steadily growing in recent years across the country, bringing in energy savings and job opportunities.
New research shows solar power employment will grow 15 percent this year which will put more Americans to work in the solar power industry, than in the extraction of oil, gas, or coal.
With expanding solar plants in our area, the benefits are hitting close to home.
"This is iconic, this is very very forward, innovative. A step that the Department of Defense has taken," said 2nd Congressional District Congressman Sanford Bishop.
Georgia legislators and military officials are teaming up across the state to save money.
"There was a time when renewable weren't affordable. We waited until the time was right, till the efficiencies and the economy of scale were there, that we could do it below the actual cost that Georgia Power is making electricity for every other customer today," said Stan Wise, a Georgia Public Service Commissioner.
Also according to Bishop, the new solar plant laying on 200 acres of Army-owned land near Fort Benning is helping the Department of Defense reduce their dependence on foreign energy, while saving money that can now go towards training, equipment and other military expenses.
Additionally, the plant will generate enough to power 4,300 nearby homes a year, and has already produced three percent more power than expected.
The success is acting as a promising sense of reliability as elected officials look towards even more growth and expansion.
"We're looking more and more to renewables to be a part of the energy mix in our state, but at the same time we want to make sure it's affordable and reliable, and serves the needs of all Georgians," said Wise.