Debbie Dooley’s conservative profile seems impeccable. The gun-owning daughter of a Baptist preacher, she was an early organizer for the Tea Party movement. She voted for President Donald Trump and still supports him.
But when it comes to energy, her independent streak sends her down a different path: She takes issue with some of Trump’s signature positions, goes up against some of the nation’s biggest utility companies and often crosses conventional partisan lines.
Dooley opposes the tariff the president imposed on solar-panel imports in January. As for coal, which Trump has championed, it will never “be the king it once was,” she said. She accepts that human activity is causing climate change — and worries that it will threaten the health of the next generation, including her 9-year-old grandson, who has asthma.
To her, those beliefs are consistent with the rest of her worldview. “We should be focusing on the technologies of the future, not the dinosaur technology of the past,” Dooley said. “Our energy grid is vulnerable to attack. Rooftop solar keeps us safe. People like solar.”
Homes and businesses that participate in Green Power Switch are already doing something good for the environment. Now, TVA and participating power distributors offer consumers even greater opportunity to support the growth of Green Power in the Tennessee Valley with the following programs:
Under TVA’s Green Power Providers KUB customers may install a solar, wind, low-impact hydropower, or biomass generation system up to 50 kilowatts. Participants sell all electricity produced directly to TVA. This program offers full retail value for all of the electricity produced. Mid-size renewable projects ranging from above 50 kilowatts to 5 Megawatts may qualify for TVA's Distributed Solar Solutions pilot program. The pilot program is designed for projects implemented in partnership with local power companies. Please reference TVA's DSS guidelines.
Facilities that generate power up to 80 Megawatts may qualify for TVA's Dispersed Power Production program.
KUB currently charges a $250 application fee for the Green Power Providers program and $500 for the Distributed Solar Solutions and Dispersed Power Production programs
The Nashville Electric Service will soon break ground on a solar project that will help with energy consumption.
The nine-acre lot off Interstate 65 in Madison used to be a landfill but hasn’t been used in 40 years. Soon though, the space will be transformed and will have an entirely new purpose – creating solar energy.
“It’s going to be the first two megawatts solar ray. [It’ll] be the largest community solar array here in Nashville,” said Sylvia Smith, Vice President of Customer Services.
The panels will provide energy to about 210 homes on average.
“It captures the sun and provides the electricity into the electric system and into the grid,” explained Smith. “We will be monitoring the generation from the sun for the solar, then the credit will be on the customers’ bill based on the generation for that panel monthly.”
The cost is a one-time fee of $215.
“One solar panel, the subscription, will on average produce a $12 credit to the customer on their bill,” Smith said.
Over the 20-year life of the project, the panels will put out $50 million kilowatts of energy and it will also be a place to learn.
“There will be an overlook and we will be providing and working with our local schools and colleges where we can go out and help provide the education to our youth about solar and youth about clean and renewable energy,” Smith explained.
Space is already filling up, but plans for more solar energy projects are in the works.
“We think it’s a beginning and we are looking at the future for additional sites,” Smith said.
Any NES customer can apply. A Solar Angel program has also been established by NES and the Community Foundation. The program will provide low-income customers with solar assistance.
The initial groundbreaking on the project was postponed and a new date has not yet been set.
Donald Trump has come up with a new idea on how to cover the costs for a proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico: build it with solar panels.
At a White House meeting Tuesday, Trump floated the concept of “beautiful structures,” 40 to 50 feet high, that generate clean electricity from the sun – and would help cover the cost of the project, according to comments reported by Axios.
The U.S. border with Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. Trump has said his wall, designed to prevent immigrants from crossing into the United States illegally, will cover 1,000 miles, with natural obstacles doing the rest of the work.
That’s a lot of solar panels, potentially generating a significant amount of energy. But the realities of building a 1,000-mile wall covered with solar panels – and then getting that electricity to market on either side of the border – are not so simple.
With few actual details about the design of the wall, the cost of building it or the price that would be paid for the electricity, it is difficult to make any realistic conclusions about the impact of Trump’s solar wall – assuming it ever gets built.
Predictions vary dramatically based on what assumptions about solar wall construction are factored in to the calculations.
Tom Gleason, owner and founder of a company that submitted a proposal to build a solar border wall, has said that his design could generate two megawatts of electricity per hour, would cost about $6 million per mile to build and would pay for itself in 20 years. Given that an average solar panel operates at about 20 percent efficiency, and factoring a few other challenges, this leaves the solar border wall operating at just 8 percent efficiency. That’s a big disadvantage.
Then there is the question of finding a market for any electricity that would be generated by a solar wall in a remote section of the country. With less than 2 percent of the U.S. population living within 40 miles of the Mexico border, the electricity generated by the wall would mostly be useless – unless costly transmission lines were built to take the electricity to other areas of the country.
According to a 2012 study from the Institution of Engineering Technology, a professional association based in Britain, an overhead transmission cable has a lifetime cost of around $8.8 million per mile, with underground cables shooting up to $50.2 million per mile.
This means, to transmit power from the Mexico border to North Dakota, Trump would have to factor in costs of more than $8 billion, at least – in addition to the cost of the solar array, the wall and workmanship.
Alternatively, the power could go the other way, helping to power homes in Mexico – thereby fulfilling another presidential promise, suggested Jigar Shah, founder and former chief executive of SunEdison, a solar-energy company.
“If the power were to be sold to the Mexican people – power they desperately need – then the President-elect could actually make good on his promise to say that the Mexican people paid for the wall,” he wrote in a January blog post.
“Even without buy-in from Mr. Trump, the Mexican president could pursue this wall on his own territory, with financing from private investors,” they write. “This would put a positive spin on Mr. Trump’s idea of a structure to divide the two countries. [President Enrique] Peña Nieto could invite his northern neighbors to take part in the initiative, or Mexico could simply reap the financial and environmental benefits for itself.”
Given China’s global domination of the solar-panel-making industry, it might be hard for Trump to defend himself against the charge that building a wall out of made-in-China solar panels would be a gift to an economic competitor – let alone an energy boost to Mexico.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies electricity for Warren Rural Electric Cooperative and Bowling Green Municipal Utilities, reported in its quarterly financial disclosure a net income of $288 million for the three months ending Dec. 31. Net income was up $186 million from the same period last year, primarily due to overall lower expenses.
TVA’s total operating revenues of about $2.5 billion for the quarter were relatively flat when compared to the first quarter last year. Power sales were up about 2 percent for the quarter on more normal weather, as milder weather affected sales during the same period last year. Even with higher sales volume, fuel and purchased power, expenses were down $115 million, or about 14 percent, primarily because of an increase in low-cost hydroelectric production and slightly lower natural gas prices.
Although more energy-efficient technology continues to develop, utility bills are currently at an all-time high in Knoxville. Knoxville Utility Board data reveals that utility bills have increased by as much as 80 percent in the last 20 years due to fixed-rate increases by KUB. According to the data, a house that uses 1,000 kilowatts per hour in a month would have paid $60.07 in 1998, but the same amount would cost a resident $108.25 today.
The Knoxville Utility Board charged customers just $5.32 in basic service fees from 1997 to 2003, which is the amount customers pay each month to use KUB's electricity. Energy usage on top of that was $10.28 per kilowatt-hour. In 2004, fixed rates increased by 77 cents and the cost-per-kilowatt-hour went up by about $2.50. In 2011, KUB decreased the cost-per-kilowatt-hour by $2 and instead added $1.91 to its basic service fees. Every year since then basic service fees have increased by $1 and will continue to increase by another $1.50 this year through 2020.
KUB spokesman Mike Bolin states that, "these rate increases of 1 percent or so per year have been about a plan to replace poles, substations, all the infrastructure to provide service."
Steven Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said he would rather see rate increases applied to usage charges. "Increasing the fixed fee has a number of very important negative financial consequences for customers, particularly low-income and lower-electricity users like senior citizens," Smith told the KUB at a recent meeting.
Beyond financial costs, Smith said he is concerned the move toward fixed rates on utilities may destroy the economics around energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Environmental groups have explained that residential customers are trapped into the rate increases if they live in the inner Tennessee valley because there are no other power suppliers. Certain residential distributors on the outer ends of the valley can choose to get their power from other nearby suppliers. Unfortunately, distributors in the inner valley do not have this option. By federal law, no other power suppliers can use TVA power lines to reach customers in the Valley, so distributors like KUB must get power from TVA because it is the only local option.
Outraged ratepayers attended a November TVA Board meeting to dispute the new fixed-rate proposal and called the company a "monopoly."
At the meeting, TVA CEO Bill Johnson said the utility did not have a "monopoly" on power supply because its distributing utilities are free to get their power elsewhere.
Aldelano is a Global leader in Industrial-Grade Solar Technology, which has developed a line of products that provide off-grid refrigeration, water generation, and power generation after a natural disaster. Their products provide relief by supplying clean drinking water, refrigeration/freezing cold storage, and renewable power to communities during times of devastation when other power sources are unavailable.
Two of the newest designs include the Aldelano Solar PowerPak/Generator™, which can power up to 7 homes, and the Aldelano Solar BackPack™, a unit that can be connected to an existing insulated room to provide solar-powered refrigeration and freezing. Other products include the flagship Solar ColdBox™, providing industrial sized cold storage including refrigeration and sub-zero freezing, the Solar Chiller™, providing a temperature controlled environment for agriculture and other storage needs, the Solar WaterMaker™, which extracts moisture from the air and purifies it for drinking, and the Solar IceMaker™, which converts up to 2,300 lbs of ice per day.
Aldelano is currently shipping Solar Coldboxes, PowerPaks, and nearly 100 Solar WaterMakers to Antiqua, Barbuda, and British Virgin Islands after Aldelano’s founder, Al Hollingsworth, visited the Caribbean Islands and met with government officials in the area. Three powerful hurricanes decimated areas of the Caribbean region, leaving dozens of people dead, millions without power or safe drinking water, and countless homes destroyed. During natural disasters like this, the primary focus of each day is providing citizens with basic necessities, like food, shelter, and clean drinking water, and Aldelano products make this goal more accessible.
Al Hollingsworth, and his wife, Hattie, have seen the sickness and disease overseas first-hand, which inspired them to brainstorm ways to return with helping hands. Once the company developed its first solar product and saw its effectiveness, they quickly saw the potential the technology could have globally.
“Nations are rich in natural resources, yet are poor because they don’t have systems in place to have access to clean water and preserve their food from harvest to market. We are opening people’s eyes to their own resources and empowering them to birth their dreams and visions. People are dying, and our products are a needed solution, not a vanity ‘want’,” states founder, Hollingsworth. Aldelano solar products have the capacity to improve the lives of many people in the future.
TVA has recently shut its door to an important project regarding renewable energy, that had the potential of producing 3,500 megawatts of clean energy to the Midwest.
Six years ago, the Tennessee Valley Authority signed a contract with Clean Line Energy Partners LLC to consider a long-term power supply arrangement along a 700-mile wind energy transmission line that the company proposed to build through Oklahoma and Arkansas. The high-voltage, direct-current transmission line would carry wind-generated electricity from western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle to TVA, Arkansas and other eastern markets. The line, expected to be completed by 2020, would end in Memphis, and TVA could have had linked to it to use the wind-generated power for its own distribution across the seven-state TVA region.
Bill Johnson, president of TVA, announced that TVA would officially back out of the plan. Johnson claimed it didn't make economic sense because TVA already has enough power-generating capacity and, with nuclear power, already is on path to generate more than half of its power from carbon-free sources. He expressed that the unreliability of wind power would require TVA to build other backup power generators, including natural gas plants, that would offset the promised savings from the wind-generated power sources alone.
His claims, however, sound disingenuous, at best. If TVA has "enough power generating capacity," then the wind power would be treated much as TVA's current hydro plants are treated: When the rivers are high, TVA uses the cheap water power, and when the wind in the plains is high, TVA would use the wind power. Existing gas-fired plants that can be turned up and down — even off — as necessary would be both filler and mainstay.
"TVA killed what could have been one of the biggest and most important renewable energy projects in America," Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in Knoxville, told Times Free Press Business Editor Dave Flessner.
Sadly, a more likely scenario for the sudden wind change is politics: both the opposition to anything wind by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and the new coal-blinded, climate change-denying Trump administration. Alexander, who thinks wind towers are ugly, took to the floor of the U.S. Senate last year to denounce Clean Line's project as unnecessary since TVA doesn't foresee the need for more power in the foreseeable future.
Support for solar energy usage among the public of Tennessee is high. Eighty-one percent of Tennessee voters support the growth of solar energy, and many want it installed in their own homes as well. These polling results come from the conservative polling firm, North Star Opinion Research, and the survey was conducted among voters from a variety of ages, races, genders and geographic locations.
Brian Bickel, who sits on the board of the Tennessee Solar Industries Association, says the results confirm what the industry is seeing.
"I'm not surprised by the support for solar at all," he says. "I think, in this day and age most people want to see more of it. They recognize the value of clean and renewable energy. I think they expect their utility to support them in their efforts to generate clean power on site."
Bickel says the confirmation of public support comes at a critical time when the Tennessee Valley Authority is making solar less economic and accessible for customers. The regional power provider does have a program allowing customers to sell up to 50 kilowatts of green energy back through their local power provider in the service area.
The survey also revealed that people would prefer to pay for their electric bill based on usage rather than a fixed rate, which is what TVA proposed earlier this year.
Stephen Smith, the executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, says the agency is proposing policies that would charge people regardless of how much energy they use.
"What TVA wants you to do is pay whether you use electricity or not, and they're the only business that I know of that wants you to have to pay something whether you use their product or not, and it's really grossly unfair," laments Smith.
According to industry estimates, solar panels can cost around $20,000 or more to install, but Bickel says property owners are making an investment that will ultimately pay for itself.
Tennessee ranks 20th across the country in terms of installed solar capacity, but Bickel and others say with 200 days of sun on average each year, the state has the potential to harness much more energy from the sun and would greatly benefit from taking advantage of this renewable resource.
Solar energy was orignally commonly obtained from uni-solar thin film flexible solar PV panels, but a more cost-efficient method is on the rise. From the start, the uni-solar models were popular because of their price, but due to increasing prices of polysilicon, this method is being abandoned. Early applications demonstrated the need for thin-film PV panels, for uses such as landfills and metal roofs, because traditional solar panels were impractical here. While there is still a need for these thin-film sheets, they have yet to be developed to survive in a competitive environment at a cheaper price.
Hanergy, a Chinese conglomerate, is the lead producer specializing in thin film manufacturing. Hanergy believes that thin-film and flexibility will define the future of the PV industry. The weight of the thin film produced by MiaSole, a division of Hanergy here in the United States, is 0.6 lbs/sq ft. This is an advanced CIGS (copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide) technology and has about 16% efficiency.
Until now, the promise of 'zero-energy' buildings has been held back by two main obstacles: the cost of the thin-film solar cells and the fact they're constructed from scarce, and highly toxic, materials.
The University of New South Wales is working to overcome these obstacles. A group at the university, led by Dr. Xiaojing Hao of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, has achieved the world's highest efficiency rating for a full-sized thin-film solar cell using a competing thin-film technology, known as CZTS.Unlike its thin-film competitors, CZTS cells are made from abundant materials: copper, zinc, tin and sulphur. Hao's team believes thin-film photovoltaic cells that can be rigid or flexible, and durable and cheap enough to be widely integrated into buildings to generate electricity from the sunlight that strikes structures such as glazing, façades, roof tiles and windows. "This is the first step on CZTS's road to beyond 20% efficiency, and marks a milestone in its journey from the lab to commercial product," said Hao. "There is still a lot of work needed to catch up with CdTe and CIGS, in both efficiency and cell size, but we are well on the way.".
However, because CZTS is cheaper and easier to bring from lab to commercialization than other thin-film solar cells, it is likely that applications are near term. University of South Wales is collaborating with a number of large companies keen to develop these panels well before the technology reaches 20% efficiency goal, Hao says, within the next few years.
Tennessee Solar Energy Association provides the following testimony in the form of questions.
We ask for a status of the pumped store(s) as the energy storage potential for accepting solar generated energy for night time use. What is the condition of the major pumped store at Raccoon Mountain? How is it being used today? Are there reasons for not employing the store for excess solar energy? There are other smaller locations with pumped store capabilities; are they being used? Pumped store is a lot cheaper than the cost of storing energy in batteries?
Another item is the monthly bill. We ask that our monthly bills be more specific including all charges detailed. Are there fixed charges that are not detailed in our bill? There was an announcement that the rates would drop in the next month. Is that for all categories of customers? I keeping the charter to produce all electricity for sale in the valley, then please let us know what other rates are offered to non-residential customers.
Jim Hackworth, President
Tennessee Solar Energy Association
West Madison County will soon have a new solar energy facility, that has been awarded by Jackson Energy Authority. It will consist of a two-megawatt solar generation project through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Distributed Solar Solutions pilot program, and construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2018 and be completed by late 2018 or early 2019.
Bruce Dorris, communications manager of JEA, said this project will be an industrial community solar project and give local companies a renewable energy source in Jackson.
“So many of the industrial customers, whether they’re a nationwide company or regional company, they’re required to have a certain amount of renewable energy credit,” Dorris said. “As you produce renewable energy, solar in this case, that system is accredited with a certain amount of green credit, because you’re making electricity that is not filled with fossil fuels. Those green credits are what companies are in need of to satisfy certain federal requirements.”
JEA partnered with Silicon Ranch of Nashville, who will fund, build, own and operate the new solar energy facility.
“Sustainability is an important aspect of the industrial community’s culture,” Jim Ferrell, president/CEO of JEA, said in a press release. “Jackson Energy Authority is proud to partner with TVA and Silicon Ranch Corporation in the development of this community solar project, which will allow us to assist our local industrial community in meeting their corporate sustainability goals in a cost-effective manner.”
Rooftop solar PV systems are estimated to have saved Australian state of New South Wales between AU$2.2 billion and AU$3.3 billion (US$1.7 billion to 2.6 billion) in just one year, according to a report commissioned by campaign group, Solar Citizens. Solar Citizens said this report is proof of the considerable benefits associated with solar energy and shows that people are ready to make the switch.
The report analyzed the period from May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017, and was delivered by Energy Synapse, an energy market consultancy. Energy Synapse found that without rooftop solar energy, electricity prices would have been between 33% and 50% higher. Costs were reduced by AU$1,400 to AU$2,200 for each megawatt hour produced by solar energy. The biggest monthly cost reduction was AU$740 million in February 2017.
Solar Citizens accused the federal government of political point scoring when it comes to renewable energy and appealed for increased use of solar energy.
Shani Tager, senior campaigner at Solar Citizens, said, “This shoots an enormous hole in the federal Government’s ongoing rubbishing of renewable energy."
Rooftop solar has been taken up by 1.7 million households and businesses in Australia and 370,000 in New South Wales. Solar Citizens is expecting solar energy to continue to expand in Australia.
North America's largest refuge for elephants, located in Middle Tennessee, has just added rooftop solar panels. This Elephant Sanctuary has provided 27 elephants that are retired from zoos and circuses with 2,700 acres of safe space and companionship.
In downtown Hohenwald, Tennessee, the public can experience The Elephant Sanctuary's Outdoor Classroom that consists of educational murals, sculptures, and exhibits on wild elephants. The indoor Elephant Discovery Center will also reopen soon with new exhibits and activities. One of the newest features is a 40kW rooftop solar PV system, owned by Good Earth Energy LLC, that began powering the area last week. This is Good Earth Energy LLC’s third solar project. Elephant Sanctuary plans to incorporate solar education at the Discovery Center and feature real-time system performance on a digital display.
"Solar is a win-win situation for me," says Bruce Clark, sole member of Good Earth Energy LLC. "I'm from Kentucky, and my first motivation was to offset the need for coal that comes from taking the tops off of mountains in Appalachia," he explains. "I receive the added benefit of a federal tax credit and depreciation," he says.
Bruce Clark chose The Elephant Sanctuary as the location for this solar project after being inspired from seeing a video about a 50 year old elephant, Shirley who moved to The Elephant Sanctuary from Louisiana. (Watch the heartwarming video here)
"I reached out to the folks at The Elephant Sanctuary, and they were highly motivated to help make the solar project happen. They are committed to sustainability," he says.
"We want to be a model for environmental sustainability," says Kate Mason, Communications Coordinator at The Elephant Sanctuary. "Solar panels fit into our mission which focuses on wildlife education and fostering respect for wildlife and the planet," she says.
Preston Jacobsen, Sustainability manager at UT, says the University of Tennessee is continuing to become closer to reaching sustainability goals. The University of Tennessee has recently made it onto two prestigious lists for sustainability.
The Princeton Review considers 2,200 universities, and Tennessee has made it on the list of the 350 Green Schools. The Sierra Club has also moved Tennessee up from 96 to 80 on its list of “Cool Schools” For Energy Sustainability.
The university has a goal of gaining “carbon neutrality” by 2061 by cutting dependence on carbon-producing energy and balancing the amount of carbon released with an equivalent carbon credit.
“Here we are 2017 and we are 48 percent from the baseline to date. We are well ahead of our curve,” Jacobsen said.
This goal is being met through several energy efforts, including solar panels on the eleventh street parking garage. The energy from these panels is used to power electric and hybrid vehicle refueling stations, and the rest goes into the campus energy grid. These and other solar projects are generating 70,000 kilowatt hours of energy on campus per year.
Other initiatives on campus include using geothermal heating and cooling in sorority village, implementing rain gardens and bio swells along Cumberland Avenue, using recycled rainwater from rooftops for washers in dorms, and being among the top five university football stadiums for waste recycling. The list goes and will continue to grow as the University of Tennessee continues to push for sustainable initiatives.
“We are very strategic in what we do,” says Jacobsen. “We don’t throw projects out and take them back. We can cut through issues by using numbers to show that we are able to save the campus dollars, that we are able to make it environmentally sustainable and that we can make it a better place to learn, live and work.”
Tesla has used its solar panels and batteries to restore electricity to San Juan's Hospital del Niño after being hit by Hurricane Irma. This will hopefully be the first of many solar and battery Tesla projects coming to Puerto Rico. The hospital's new energy system, which is set up right in the parking lot of the hospital, allows it to generate all of the energy the hospital could need, according to El Nuevo Dia. This includes being able to offer services to about 75 permanent hospital residents and about 3,000 younger temporary patients. This solar array is a donation to the hospital from Tesla, and Tesla would like to make further deals in Puerto Rico once they have fully recovered from the disaster.
Donald Trump’s administration has claimed that renewable energy is too expensive and dependent on government subsidies and vowed to revive the coal industry. The solar power industry, however, is growing across the country, with continually decreasing costs as technology improves.
Solar energy continues to grow in many southern states that voted for Trump, and solar firms in this region are continuously gaining more investments. At this rate, the investments in solar energy will most likely only continue to increase, counteracting Trump’s plan to revive coal.
Solar expansion in the middle of the country is offsetting its slower growth in the California and Northeast markets. Environmental initiatives have typically relied on more liberal coastal states, so this marks a big shift for the solar industry to rely more on southern states and mid-country states.
“Climate change has never come up in any discussion about why we would do a project,” said Matt Beasley, chief marketing officer for Silicon Ranch Corp, a solar developer based in Nashville, Tennessee. “It is always about the economics.”
The costs of solar power generation have dropped 85 percent since 2009, making its unsubsidized cost competitive with natural gas prices.
Solar projects are estimated to receive $12.3 billion in tax breaks between 2016 and 2020. Trump has never specifically proposed repealing such incentives but has expressed skepticism about the viability of solar and wind, calling both "very, very expensive".
The president’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry last month called for new rules to subsidize coal and nuclear energy, arguing that the rise of weather-dependent solar and wind power would make the grid less reliable. Republicans, however, are outspoken in their continuing support for solar incentives, using an economic rather than environmental rationale.
In Cookeville the newly constructed Highlands Solar Array is now up and running. This project has involved a lot of partnerships and discussion for over two years now.
It 2014, city officials met with Restoration Services Inc. to discuss the construction of a one megawatt solar array in the Highlands Business Park. The engineering, procurement and construction of the solar array were performed by Vis Solis with TVAEnergy as the primary subcontractor.
"As an environmental services firm, it's very important to our company and employees that we engage in sustainability initiatives," Paul Clay, president of Restoration Services Inc., said. "We're putting the power on the grid and we think it will be attractive to businesses as they look to relocate or locate here in Highlands Business Park."
This solar array will have to capacity to power 156 houses per year and the greenhouse gas offset for this project is equal to 222 vehicles per year. The project will sell electric power to the Tennessee Valley Authority through an interconnection with the Cookeville Electric Department. It has 2,506 solar modules at 325 to 330 watts per module.
"Our team is excited to bring another 1MW of clean solar power to the grid for Tennessee," Carlos Mayer, president and CEO of Vis Solis.
Due to the city's commitment to sustainability, the Highlands Business Park was named a Sustainable Business Park by the TVA Sustainable Communities Program, one of 28 designated communities in the seven state TVA service area. Barry Brown, president of Tennessee Valley Alternative Energy, said this gives companies option of investing in clean energy.
"Because this (solar array) is located in this business park, everyone wins. This is a good way to not only promote renewable energy but economic development," Brown said.
Solar energy usage will potentially expand in Lowndes County, Mississippi. Lowndes County Supervisors say they will work with two interested solar companies in the surrounding area.
At a meeting on October 13, a LINK presentation named EON Climate Renewables and Next ERA as solar energy firms that have reached out to TVA for potential locations. Supervisors approved tax incentives through a resolution of intent. This means that if either company chooses to continue with locating in the southern Lowndes County area, some of the financial burdens will be removed.
Although these potential firms are not expected to bring a large number of jobs to the area, solar energy created at the sites would be provided to TVA.