Archive for October 31, 2012

S. David Freeman Here to Lead PV Strategic Roadmap Development on December 7th in Knoxville

The election will be over and the results will dictate the degree and type of support we can expect from the new administration. Regardless of the outcome, those of us who are passionate about solar energy have to come together and plan our future actions. There is no one better to lead this action plan than S. David Freeman and we are blessed to have him here in Knoxville on December 7th for a full days planning session.

The plan for location has not been set at this time but we will announce the location and program as it develops.

I ask everyone who wants to participate in this major event to watch our website and press releases for new information.

The cost of attending will be set based on our practice at TSEA to just cover the costs of the event. As TSEA has a policy to minimize any expense of events to break even financially. That way, we can keep the cost of attending to a bare minimum.

We will be contacting distributors, TVA, all environmental groups, business leaders, political leaders at the national, state and local levels with the assistance of our partner in this event, Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council. Though the trust of our planning will be focused on Tennessee, all who are part of TVA system are encouraged to attend.

More on David Freeman

Solar for your Home Workshop with STION

Come to Bearden Beer Market in Knoxville, TN on Wednesday, November 7th for a workshop with STION, solar panel manufacturer located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. At the workshop you will learn more about solar energy and how you can incorporate into your home or building!

This workshop is part of the Bearden Beer Market and ARiES Energy Best  Building Practices campaign to lower their carbon footprint, educate the community and encourage patrons and partners to follow suit.

Every Wednesday: $1 per pint will support BBM’s Best Building Practices! Join us to hear about BBM’s plans to incorporate the best building practices into the beer garden to improve energy efficiency and enhance the experience for beer lovers & BBM partners of Knoxville!

Some of their projects include:

  • Installing a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System!
  • Completing Lighting Retrofits (90% accomplished, let’s make it 100%!)
  • Purchasing Biomass heating and power generation units! (Conveniently charge electronics in the beer garden without plugging into the grid!)
  • Roof Top Garden for Storm Water Collection (vegetation for reducing run-off & carbon emissions, not for eating!)

For more information or to RSVP, Click Here

Tennessee’s solar power industry stymied by red tape, extra fees

This is why the cost of local approval can add up.

“Bureaucrats, paperwork and the utility companies are our biggest problems,” said Steve Johnson, vice president of the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association and founder of Nashville-based LightWave Solar. While the power distributors in TVA’s seven-state region are mostly solar-friendly, there are cases where they push back against people who produce their own power and want to sell it to the utility.

For instance, the Johnson City (Tenn.) Power Board, the municipal electric utility, has just instituted a $950 up-front charge to allow a home or business solar system to send power to its system, and also adds a $10-a-month solar service charge to the customer’s bill.

“There is an expense involved with installing the meter” and setting up the solar service on the utility’s system, said Johnson City Power Board spokesman J.T. McSpadden. The $950 application/installation fee would be offset by the $1,000 that TVA provides the home or business to add a solar system, but then that money would not be available to help pay for the solar equipment itself, LightWave’s Johnson said.

Nashville Electric Service doesn’t charge fees for connecting a solar array to its system, but does have some requirements that cause permits to take two to three months to get approved, Johnson said. Among them: A solar permit from NES requires sign-offs by the utility’s chief executive officer, a member of the board of directors and the legal department. “Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. is the easiest to deal with,” he said. “With them, we can get a permit approved in two weeks.”


Learn the Basics of Solar Installation Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Technology Training Course

JANUARY 21 – 25, 2013
University of Tennessee
Center for Industrial Services
193 C Polk Avenue
Nashville, TN 37210

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Technology Entry-Level Training Includes:
• NABCEP entry-level Certificate of Knowledge exam
• PV history and market developments
• Solar concepts and terminology
• Onsite PV system configurations and components
• PV Safety
• NABCEP Entry Level Exam
Who Should Attend Any person or business interested in learning the basics of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Technology.
Cost The cost is $995.00 to attend the Solar PV Technology training course. Lunch is provided. Accommodations are NOT provided.
and Registration

All students must be pre-registered for the course; no walk-ins will be accepted.

To register for this Solar PV course or for more information please contact:
Patricia Wells

UT Center for Industrial Services
(615) 253-6371

Solar and Wind Energy Provide 100% New US Electrical Capacity in September

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects, 433 MW of new electrical generating capacity was added in the U.S. in September — all from solar and wind sources. The total consisted of five wind projects totaling 300 MW and 18 solar projects totaling 133 MW. The new renewable energy generating capacity added in 2012 represents a 29% increase over the level recorded for the same period in 2011. Renewable energy sources now account for 14.9% of all installed U.S. electrical generating capacity. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), finds that non-hydro renewables accounted for 5.4% of net electrical generation for the first seven months of 2012. The remarkable expansion of renewable energy’s contribution to the nation’s electrical supply reflects continuing declines in costs, the impact of state renewable electricity standards, and the mix of tax and other incentives provided by the federal government, Particularly in light of the declining role of coal and the recent decision to close the Kewaunee nuclear reactor in Wisconsin, proposals to scale back on investments in renewable energy appear to be particularly short-sighted and unwarranted.


REAP Grants Announced for 2012

A total of $16 million dollars worth of REAP grants were announced by Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on October 19th. The big winners were Minnesota with 46 awards, Iowa with 48 awards and Indiana with 27 awards. Tennessee received one award. It went to SR Pulaski, LLC for $76,466 to install a solar array system.

Do-It-Yourself Solar Installation Workshop A Success

Gary Wolfe talking about what is involved installing solar systems

This was the first workshop presented by TSEA in collaboration with TREEDC. The workshop was held in Knoxville on the evening of October 18th at the U.T. Conference Center to allow those employed as well as families to attend. The evening started with a dinner buffet followed by experts in the local area presenting information on solar installations, solar kits and some of the code issues that DIY attendees will face.

The audience response to the workshop was overwhelmingly positive

The workshop started at 6 pm and ended at 9:15 pm with a question and answer session lead by the solar expert presenters. In addition to the lectures, the attendees received a manual containing articles from Home Power magazine. Thanks to Home Power magazine which has done an excellent job of describing issues with installing renewable resources such as solar, wind, microhydro and biomass. The plan was for forty attendees and we ended up with 55 attendees. Requests for additional DIY workshops from those who could not make the workshop or who had not heard about the workshop in time to register will be addressed by holding this workshop at other parts of the state. State tuned for more information as it develops.

FREE Open Source Solar Education

Came across this website and it advertises free solar education. For those who are interested in solar energy and cannot afford the time or expense of traveling to the nearest NABCEP course may find this free educational training useful. I have not seen this website before and cannot comment on it, but it is at least worth exploring.

Go to: and then
there you will find this statement:

SolPowerPeople, Inc. is a global PV industry market development and international solar training organization dedicated to providing the highest quality hands-on solar training at a competitive price to the far corners of the United States, and FREE online training worldwide. SolPowerPeople will spend the 2012 year traveling the USA, training more than 1,000 people with the dynamic 40-hour, hands-on introductory and advanced solar PV workshops, SPV2000/SPV3000 Accelerated PV Design & Installation Workshop, and a series of short Solar Seminars, all the while delivering FREE education with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) through the #SolarMOOC Academy.

Click on #Solar MOOC Academy and that will take you to the free academy.

“SolPowerPeople offers FREE Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), that are designed for anyone and everyone interested in the Solar PV Industry, especially for those who seek NABCEP, Rise, or UL Certification. This is a very collaborative effort amongst leading professionals in the solar industry, and all the active participants from around the world. The #SolarMOOC’s structure, daily Newsletters, live lectures, and guidance is delivered by SolPowerPeople as way to help empower the masses with solar knowledge in a fun, interactive, collaborative, free way.”

What have you to loose?

Solarwatt AG completely restructured: insolvency procedures repealed

Sometimes faced with failure one can change the future

Why is this article about a German company posted on this website? The answer is simple; the best businesses when faced with financial difficulties reinvent themselves. That is what Solarwatt has done. They were bankrupt and went through a grueling experience coming out of bankruptcy by changing their product strategy: they were a module manufacturer and now “to a solar systems manufacturer. By the end of 2012 we will be launching new products in the system sector, allowing the company to maintain and expand its market position. Neuhaus, new CEO, explained, “All the signs are pointing to continued large increases in energy prices in the future. With our system solutions, consumers can supply themselves with energy independently and decentrally, making it possible for them to become more independent of energy providers and to save costs. A 25-year warranty ensures that the investment also pays off for our customers.”

Do-It-Yourself Workshop This Thursday Evening Sign Up Now

The Tennessee Solar Energy Association in collaboration with the Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council is holding a workshop for those interested in installing solar in their homes, businesses and farms.

The workshop is set for 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the University of Tennessee Conference Center. The Center is located at the corner of Locust and Clinch downtown.

Experts will provide information and a manual containing articles on each aspect of solar purchasing of equipment and how the equipment is assembled to produce electricity from sunlight. The manual will contain examples of home solar projects as published in Home Power magazine.

Cost for the dinner buffet, the manual and the instruction is $30. TSEA and TREEDC members will have a $5 discount. Space is limited.

Free parking will be available at the Locust Street garage across the street from the U.T. Conference Center.

Details are available on and registration info is found under the Events heading of the website.