» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 128 | NO. 175 | Monday, September 09, 2013

TVA Called On to Expand Solar Energy Program

AP

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

NASHVILLE (AP) – Energy firms and conservation groups are calling on the Tennessee Valley Authority to expand its small-scale solar energy program.

The federal utility launched the program about 10 years ago to boost the solar industry in Tennessee. It allows generators of solar power to connect to the electrical grid and sell back the power they produce at a higher-than-market rate.

The Tennessean reports that energy firms and conservation groups now say the program has begun to stifle the solar industry because TVA caps the amount of power it will buy at a rate that is well below the demand.

"Capacity is being snapped up, and people are clamoring for the program," said Nathan Moore, senior attorney in Nashville for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which follows the industry closely. "The problem is as these programs close, what we're seeing is the market being artificially constrained."

TVA says the cap is necessary to keep energy costs down for customers.

"TVA must carefully balance competing interests when buying renewable energy at prices above other generation sources because this cost difference is passed on to 9 million power consumers," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said. "No matter what we do, we still have to answer to the ratepayers."

The utility provides power to about 9 million people in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

TVA received 343 applications last month when it opened its Green Power Providers program last month to fill a small amount of capacity, but was able to accept only 116 of them.

"They keep dangling this carrot in front of you, and then they take it away," said Darren Metz, CEO of Novacopy, a Nashville-based distributor of commercial printers and copiers that wants to get into the program.

Solar advocates say the stop-start nature of the program makes it difficult for businesses and homeowners to plan solar projects and the uncertainty is jeopardizing the long-term health of the industry.

"This type of management is crippling the industry," said Steve Johnson, who runs Antioch-based solar panel installation firm LightWave Solar. "We don't have any way of planning."

Moore said TVA spends $25 million on the premium, which isn't a large amount compared to its overall budget.

"We would like to see TVA fund this program in a way that's consistent with their vision to be a renewable energy leader in the Southeast," Moore said.

Information from: The Tennessean, www.tennessean.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sign-Up For Our Free Email Edition
Get the news first with our daily email


 
Blog Get more from The Daily News
Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 56 212 11,977
MORTGAGES 68 295 15,645
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 23 80 3,103
BUILDING PERMITS 0 606 28,832
BANKRUPTCIES 81 291 11,598
BUSINESS LICENSES 29 102 4,257
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 89 428 17,611
MARRIAGE LICENSES 20 81 3,645

Weekly Edition

Issues | About

The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.