Archive for August 30, 2012

Tennessee’s largest solar park under construction

Phoenix Solar is installing over 33,000 PV modules at Volkswagon’s plant in Chattanooga in Tennessee, US.

The ground-mounted project, which costs in the region of US$30 million, is said to be Tennessee’s largest solar park when complete.
The plant will have a total capacity of 9.58MW and is being built on 65 acres of land. Electricity generated from the PV system will be fed directly into the Chattanooga Volkswagon plant and is expected to meet 12.5% of the plant’s energy demands. Citing Thilo Brockhaus, Volkswagon’s manager of the plant construction, WDEF revealed that the solar array would produce 13.1GWh of electricity on an annual basis.

The PV system is expected to begin supplying power to the Chattanooga plant this autumn.
original article

Solar Panels For Sale For Duck River Customers

see news storyThanks to Gary Wolf of Sundog Solar for this new announcement. This is the first community solar project in Tennessee and maybe in the TVA region so precedent has been set and hope it grows.
BEDFORD COUNTY, Tenn.- For the first time Solar Farm panels are up for sale in Bedford County and any Duck River Electric customer can purchase one and whatever energy it brings in will be deducted from their bill.
Several local elementary students got an up close look at a new solar farm working in their own community. The panels are a $600 investment. The more the sun shines, the less that customer will pay on their electric bill.
“Using last month as an example 4,000 kilowatt hours were produced so if you invested in half a panel you would have seen somewhere around a 4.50 credit on your electric bill,” said Brad Gibson, with Duck River Electric Company.
The solar farm is the first of its kind in the TVA Valley. And while the savings won’t put a customer into early retirement, it can take 20 years to truly turn a profit, many said its more about being a part of a bigger push for solar in Shelbyville.
There are 261 panels up for sale and anyone in the 17 counties that use Duck River Electric can purchase one. Officials said if this pilot program is successful they will build more in the future.

Which are the most profitable regions for solar in the United States?

Map of zip codes in the United States

This posting came from PVTECH article and refers to a new method of forecasting regions within the United States that are solar PV marketing targets. What makes this so important is the fineness of the territory examined. The market potential is examined at levels of specific regions as small as a zip code. It will be the new method for marketing solar and is a product called Max-ROI(TM) created by Keiser Analytics. Forget the old method of figuring cost of solar per watt. With the present disparity in regional economics for solar installations we need a new method to compare markets where solar is providing a return-on-investment (ROI) of 20% or will in the near future. ROI considers the cost of solar components, the cost of installing solar, and the compensations offered by either the state or by the power provider varying along with the cost of electricity in each micro-sector of the United States. This method is a valuable tool for installers and distributors which now are having to spend extraordinary amount of time researching where in their marketing area offers the best opportunity for future business. “Unfortunately, there are over 40,000 zip codes in the United States. To calculate ROI correctly, each zip code requires a current electricity price, irradiation value and incentive value. Each of these values in turn may be comprised of several data points and each of these may be changing on an irregular basis (incentives, electricity prices, etc.). As such, the number of data points necessary to calculate an accurate result at the local-level is several orders of magnitude greater than working with state-level data.” A quote from the PVTECH article which can be found here.

Solar Accounting: Measuring the Costs and Benefits of Going Solar

The Solar Foundation funded by a SunShot grant has published a report on the costs of going solar. Installing solar energy systems on municipal or county property can deliver long-term cost savings for a local government. This report gives information to local government so that it can make informed decisions on whether solar installations will be a positive or negative net value. The main options for local governments is direct ownership or ownership by third parties. The report includes sections on estimated costs, project financing, third party ownership and avoided energy consumption costs, solar renewable energy credits and the financial tables simplifying these calculations.

The report can be found here

TenneSEIA’s 1st Annual Golf Tournament

TenneSEIA First Golf Tournament

TenneSEIA will host TenneSEIA’s 1st Annual Golf Tournament on Thursday, October 11, at Gaylord Springs Golf Links Course in Nashville, Tennessee. Efficient Energy of Tennessee, LLC (EETN) is the title sponsor of the inaugural event. EETN is a turnkey installer of solar photovoltaic/solar thermal systems based out of Powell, Tennessee.
All TenneSEIA members and the public are invited for an afternoon of golf, camaraderie and lunch. Don’t miss the opportunity to mingle with TenneSEIA members and affiliates from around the state while enjoying a round of golf on one of Tennessee’s premier golf courses.
To sign up please visit: or fill in the registration PDF form and return to EETN at the address below. Early bird registration will be available through August 31st. Registration will be available through September 11, 2012.
Hole and Tee sponsorships are available to showcase your company. For more information on becoming a sponsor please review the sponsorship PDF form or go online to sign up at:
Donations for prizes are currently being accepted. To make a donation please call EETN at (865) 947-3386.

NOTE: If you can’t find a team of 4 players, you can still register for the tournament as an individual and we will group you with other players. The individual fee is just ¼ of the team fee ($87.50 per player before Aug 31, $93.75 after Sept 1). Again, if you have a conflict or would prefer not to golf, you can still support the industry and TenneSEIA by sponsoring a hole or tee. Thank you.

Xcel Energy announces successful launch, quick close of the Solar*Reward Community standard offer

Community Solar Garden Structure

Xcel Energy was seeking approximately 4.5 megawatts of generation, from systems less than or equal to 500 kilowatts; it received approximately three times that amount in applications in about 30 minutes after the program opened at 8 a.m. MDT today. Acceptance of applications ended after an hour.

The Solar*Rewards Community standard offer was designed for Colorado customers who could not, for various reasons, take advantage of other solar programs, because they were renting, lived in multi-family dwellings or did not have homes or businesses suitable for solar installations. Customers are now able to purchase renewable energy through solar project developers from a community-based photovoltaic system.
“The success of this initial offering and the fact that it subscribed so quickly clearly shows that this is a beneficial and desirable program for our Colorado customers,” said David Eves, president & CEO of Public Service Company of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “Solar*Rewards Community makes solar energy available to a new, broad group of customers and we are pleased with the interest shown today.”

Details about the Xcel program

KUB is seeking applications for board member

The Knoxville Utilities Board oversees over 400,000 customers in Knoxville and the surrounding counties. It is seeking qualified applicants. If you meet the following, think of applying especially if you are passionate about the type of fuel used to generate your electricity..

Eligibility Requirements
Applicant must be at least 25 years of age.
Applicant must have resided in Knox County for the past three consecutive years.
Applicant cannot be an elected official or an employee of the City of Knoxville or any municipality, county government, or state government except for a Notary Public, a member of the National Guard of the State of Tennessee, or employee of public education.
Applicant may not be an employee or retiree of a utility or energy company.
Applicant cannot be related to a KUB employee where the relationship is as close as third degree by blood, adoption, or marriage.

KUB is a progressive utility that gets its electricity from TVA and so indirectly, you will have a voice in the future of the types of energy we choose. The application can be found here. Fill out the form and submit. Applications must be received by 5 pm on September 13th.

I was going to apply until I came to the exclusion of being a retiree of a utility having retired from TVA.

TVA’s CEO Tom Kilgore is Retiring

TVA CEO Tom Kilgore announced Thursday that he will retire, and the agency’s board will hire an executive search firm to find his successor.

That firm will presumably consider outside candidates, but here’s a look at the top executives who are already on the agency’s roster.

The following executives are all direct reports to Kilgore, according to TVA spokesman Travis Brickey.

– Kim Greene, executive vice president and chief generation officer (pictured).
Greene’s portfolio includes coal operations, gas operations, generation construction, and power supply & fuels.
A native of Knoxville, she previously served as the agency’s CFO and came to TVA in 2007 from Southern Company. Greene (pictured) earned a bachelor’s in engineering science and mechanics from UT, a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an MBA from Samford University.

– Joe Hoagland, senior vice president of policy and oversight.
Hoagland’s portfolio includes communications, compliance and policy governance, security and emergency management, and dam safety governance.
He previously served as vice president of the office of the CEO, and has been a TVA employee since 1993. Hoagland earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from Southern Utah University and master’s and doctorate degrees in physical chemistry from Washington State University.

– Rob Manning, executive vice president and chief energy delivery officer
Manning’s portfolio encompasses all aspects of TVA’s power transmission systems, customer relations and economic development.
He previously served as executive vice president of system operations and came to TVA in 2008 from Duke Energy.
Manning earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Queens College in Charlotte, N.C.

original article

Second solar company offers project to schools

Tennessee Schools Should Have Solar

“Right now, solar energy presents an excellent opportunity in Cumberland County and Tennessee,” said Randy Velker with Crossville-based Simple Energy Works. There are tax credits available for businesses and individuals installing solar generation equipment, businesses are able to accelerate depreciation on the cost of the system and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Generation Partners program pays power generators 12 cents over retail for every kilowatt hour produced for 10 years.
Unfortunately, the school system is unable to reap the tax benefits available.
“We’ve come up with a system for someone who can capture those benefit to purchase the system and put it on your roof,” Velker told the board. “You can get into solar with someone else buying the equipment and no money out of your pocket.”
Velker proposes a 49.92 kilowatt system at 14 school sites with a 20-year agreement. Funding for purchasing the equipment and installing it would come from a third partner, TerraShares, a company that offers project planning, analyses and innovative funding approaches to attract third-party financing for projects such as this. The company worked with Hawkins County school system to install 11 solar power sites on school property.
John Adkins, with TerraShares, said, “Eighty percent of new commercial installations are funded by third parties. Why? Nobody has the money. This provides an opportunity to bring in people interested in taking on the risk in exchange for earnings.”

entire article

Fox News Bites NewsCorp’s Nose to Spite Solar Power

According a report in Think Progress, Fox news recently slammed SunPower as a “failing” company, but Dow Jones picked that very company to build a huge solar installation at its New Jersey headquarters, which it touted as a one of the “smart solutions for the future of our business.” So, did Fox News just call Dow Jones stupid?

Intra-corporate squabbling is probably the last thing embattled NewsCorp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch needs right now, what with the phone hacking scandal and all, and this could be just the start of another big headache. Dow Jones is the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, the business community’s paper of record and a comfortable home for conservative-leaning commentary. When a mainstream corporate citizen like Dow Jones says solar is a smart investment, and another media company under the same umbrella insists on the opposite, something’s got to give.

Since the Solyndra investigation failed to reveal any systemic problem, Fox moved along to find the next poster child and landed on SunPower. That bumps Fox right up against the U.S. auto industry. Namely, Ford Motor Company and SunPower announced a major initiative just a couple of months ago, to pair SunPower’s home solar installations with purchases of Ford’s new Focus electric vehicle, which will have its manufacturing home right here in the U.S.

more on this story