TVA’s Release of Solar Capacity Highlights Unmet Demand for Tennessee Valley Solar Projects
Today the Tennessee Valley Authority will make 2.5 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity available under its Green Power Providers program for small renewable energy projects. This capacity is expected to be filled within a few hours, highlighting the unmet demand from homeowners, businesses, and installers in the Tennessee Valley.
The 2.5 MW is not a bonus increase in capacity for 2013, but instead represents capacity that was applied for and approved as part of the 10 MW offered under Green Power Providers but was not built. Since April, the program has been closed for applications and was not planned to re-open until next year.
TVA made the decision to re-release this capacity after the solar industry and other stakeholders raised concerns about the failure of the program to meet the market demand for solar, which in turn has put the industry and jobs at risk. Conservation groups, consumer and energy organizations, and solar installers have jointly urged TVA to increase available capacity above and beyond the current 10 MW in order to support the growing solar market in the Tennessee Valley.
“While the solar industry continues to grow across the country – providing significant economic, environmental, and public health benefits – Tennessee is falling behind due to artificial limits set by TVA,” Nathan Moore, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “We’re pleased to see this small lifeline of additional capacity, but we need a lot more to meet the demand for solar in the Valley.”
“We continue to believe that TVA can become a renewable energy leader in the Southeast,” said Charlie Coggeshall, renewable energy manager for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “But for that to happen, TVA needs to be more responsive to the market’s needs by setting near-term objectives and ultimately develop a long-term target and strategy rather than continuing these month-to-month and year-to-year allocations.”