TSEA Submits DoE SunShot Grant Concept Paper

At the present time we are working with an interdisciplinary team of academics and consultants on creating a solar program proposal, in the TVA region, to the Department of Energy known as the “Aggregate Utility Solar Program Using Micro-Investments.” Currently the problem with investing into solar for the average Tennessean is that the high up-front costs associated with solar is too large and therefore hindered demand. Since the demand is stifled, the marginal cost of solar production equipment has remained high. We are looking to remedy this issue by creating a platform where micro-investments can be used to provide solar energy to a broad base of citizens who can otherwise not afford it. The model will aggregate the demand from hundreds-of-thousands of individuals who invest small sums of money on a monthly basis to install large solar farms. Each micro-investment will equate to one “share” in a solar farm and will provide an escalating return on investment as the monthly investments continue. The model will analyze the situational requirements to induce micro-investments, the relationships between key variables, the resulting economic impact to the community, and the future cost of electricity to the consumers. Once the analysis is complete, our social scientists can identify any policies needed for a new solar program, and the Tennessee Valley Authority can implement a pilot program based on the model.

The best part of this program is that it does not cost the state anything. The widespread growth would be due to a multitude of private investors rather than state dependency.

We believe the results of this program would be very important for the growth of solar in Tennessee. The wide implementation of solar would drastically reduce carbon emissions in Tennessee, because solar does not emit carbon pollutants. This would create a savings on the carbon emissions quota, which the state could redistribute in creating for carbon emission permits for new manufactures and producers. The biggest impact, however, would be that this program would create a new source for job creation in the energy sector. A study by the University of California-Berkeley found that for every megawatt of panels installed that 20 manufacturing and 13 installation job-years would be created. We believe solar energy is the future and we think a program like this can help get us there.

Below is a link to the concept paper for the utility solar program we are looking to create. It will give you background information and greater insight on the models that we are making use of and developing. Please send us any comments or questions you have about the program so we can use them to help make our full proposal the best it can be. Use the comment section below, or e-mail us at info@tnsolarenergy.org

Link to the Concept Paper

The TSEA Team