Construction is to start soon on a solar park estimated to cost about $30 million that will supply a big chunk of power to Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant.
The solar park, believed to be the state’s biggest at 9.5 megawatts, will go on a tract adjacent to the factory, said Patrik Mayer, executive vice president of finance and information technology for VW in Chattanooga. Mayer said Phoenix Solar and Silicon Ranch offered the best proposal of several that VW reviewed. He projected that similar-sized solar parks cost about $30 million, and plans are to pay Silicon Ranch a fixed price per kilowatt hour to run it, he said.
The power generated by the solar park will go to the plant and not onto the EPB or TVA grids, “It goes directly into VW,” Mayer said.
Chris Davis, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Solar Institute, said the solar park “is very large for Tennessee. It’s one of the bigger ones in the Southeast.”
LED lighting leader Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), delivers another industry first with a barrier-breaking 254 lumen-per-watt white R&D power LED. A standard incandescent light bulb produces 16 lumens per watt. In the near future expect to buy LED lamps that will use 6% of the electricity of the standard bulb. That means that a standard 60 watt bulb can be replaced with a 4 watt LED and produce the same amount of light. Lighting now uses 11% of the total energy used in our homes. So in a few years lighting will be low cost to use. Maybe more expensive to purchase the higher cost LED lamps, but it will save energy and money in the long run.
The program, which was operational from 2009 to 2011, offered renewable energy project developers a one-time cash payment in place of the Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credit and provided 30 percent of total eligible costs of a project for most types of renewable energy.
Amongst the report’s findings, the §1603 grant program has provided approximately $9 billion in funds to over 23,000 PV and large wind projects, comprising 13.5 GW of generating capacity. The study also estimates that construction- and installation-related expenditures are estimated to have supported an average of 52,000–75,000 direct and indirect jobs per year over the program’s operational period.