Moultrie Observer

Sunbelt Expo

October 22, 2009

Green energy at Expo

EMC: Solar, methane two parts of solution

MOULTRIE — Georgia’s Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC) is working to make its customers green with energy. It had a display at its Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition exhibit displaying some of its ways to go green.

Harry Park, from Southern Rivers Energy, said a portable solar power unit was set up at Expo to show people how sunlight can be used for power. The solar panel at Expo was used to run four light bulbs and a small fan to demonstrate its efficiency. While collecting energy from the sun, the panel also stores energy in a battery for use during the night time hours.

Although one solar panel alone will not gather enough power to run an entire home, Park said the one on display can power a house’s lights and a television. The panel is part of an effort to help customers find new ways to generate electricity and become more efficient. It’s primarily a matter of making simple, everyday changes.

“We’re trying to make people aware of ways to save money,” Park said. “It’s all a matter of changing your lifestyle.”

Although no solar panels have been installed in Colquitt County yet, Park said they and other green power sources are gaining popularity in Georgia. Solar panels have been installed by EMCs across the state , and EMC is looking to more ways to make use of otherwise wasted materials.

Marty Myers with Georgia EMC said the Green Power EMC program was established in 2001. Since then, EMC has been able to generate seven megawatts of power by converting methane gas emissions from landfills into green energy. It plans to generate an additional 17 megawatts of power with the addition of a second plant as early as next year.

Another project in the works with Georgia EMC is to find ways to convert chicken litter into usable energy, Myers said. The Green Power EMC program has proven successful in the state, as 25 middle and high schools in Georgia are using solar panels that can generate one kilowatt of power.

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