The Macon-Bibb Director of Parks and Beautification, and Vice Chairman of the Jones County Board of Commissioners, Sam Kitchens received the 2018 Solar Advocate Award from the Georgia Solar Energy Association on Thursday, December 13, 2018, at the organization’s annual Holiday Celebration.

Mr. Kitchens was honored for his decade-long efforts to bring solar resources and savings to the Macon-Bibb procurement process. As a result of his initiative, four firehouses now have two solar panels each directly connecting to their industrial-sized water heaters. When firefighters return from a fire, they must shower to remove soot and other residues. This puts heavy, daily demand on the station’s water heaters. The two solar panels on these four firehouses provide hot water around the clock while lowering the county’s utility bill for this need. Mr. Kitchens was also responsible for leading the creation of a 600-panel solar canopy for the Bibb County Sheriff’s Investigative Center, being the first community in Georgia to take advantage of a new law to have a solar installation built at no cost to the local government. Currently, Mr. Kitchens is one of the leading champions for the “Solarize Middle Georgia” initiative that allows homeowners to invest in solar at the lowest possible cost.

Macon-Bibb County Manager, Keith Moffett, praised Mr. Kitchens for bringing solar value to Middle Georgia.

“We are the first in the state to have solar initiatives as part of our buying process, which saves us money in our budget. As county manager, one of my top priorities is making sure that we provide the best services at the best price.” Moffett continued, “By having solar incorporated into our procurement process, Sam has ensured us to not just get great products but get them at a great price.”

Counties throughout Georgia are realizing the positive economic impact solar projects provide: the several firehouses and the solar canopy at the Sheriff’s Investigative Center, along with the Solarize Middle Georgia campaign are among the latest examples. Sam Kitchens has been Macon-Bibb’s local champion, propelled by his hope that the meaningful savings and clean energy of solar power will benefit taxpayers in efficient county operations. His effective and ongoing efforts make Mr. Kitchens the kind of positive role model Georgia Solar Energy Association’s annual Solar Advocate Award was designed to celebrate.

For more information about the work done by Sam Kitchens, please see this feature video.

*Article courtesy of Georgia Solar Energy Association.