TN Renewable Energy Program Re-Opens

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The Tennessee Valley Authority is re-opening the Generations Partners program. Distributors, such as Nashville Electric Service, had been among those shocked when told last week that the program would take no new participants.

“TVA launched Generation Partners as a pilot project, with periodic adjustments expected along the way, to encourage customer interest in small to medium-sized renewable energy projects, such as rooftop solar panels,” John Trawick, a TVA senior vice president said in the announcement.

“The response has exceeded all expectations, prompting us to expand and enhance the program to include additional projects and help support public interest in renewable energy.”

Alternative energy projects, including solar and wind, of up to 200 kilowatts are eligible for the program, which includes a $1,000 payment for each participant to help with startup costs.

Also, TVA buys all of the green power from participants, paying the retail rate, plus any fuel cost adjustment, plus a premium per kilowatt-hour, depending on the type of renewable energy produced.

The program offers incentives for solar, wind and other types of alternative energy, but the solar program, which pumps electricity into the grid, has proven the most practical and popular for homeowners and small businesses.

Generation Partners also spurred new solar installation businesses and brought jobs to others.

Officials with the public power producer, which had set aside $50 million for the program, said they had many more requests for help with projects than they can fund.

TVA also said it was:

– Moving 33 additional customer proposals into the approval process;
–  Evaluating various longer-term solutions aimed at transforming Generation Partners from a pilot project to a firmly established TVA program.

TVA began an effort earlier this year that gave approval in advance of a project to make it easier for customers to finance equipment. Large non-solar projects that can take big chunks of the available projects have been one issue of concern for the solar installers.

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