Industry Update: TVA Solar Initiatives Fall Short

Capacity has been reached in TVA’s two solar programs, Green Power Providers (GPP) and Solar Solutions Initiative (SSI). TVA is not approving new applications at this time. However, LightWave Solar will sign contingent contracts and complete utility paperwork to be ready to submit project applications as soon as TVA releases capacity.

TVA

We are requesting that TVA make the following actions to smooth out the program:

1. On June 1, 2013, reinstate unused/expired capacity in GPP from the fourth quarter 2012. It is our understanding that approximately 20 percent of the approved capacity from that period was actually built within the 180-day time limit.

2. Going forward, release capacity back into the GPP program on a monthly basis following the six month expiration of agreements (i.e., unused capacity from applications approved during January 2013 is released back into the program on August 1, and so forth).

3.Take steps to prevent speculative applications from taking up capacity, including a Valley-wide applicationfee and requiring a copy of the check between the owner or third party and their selected solar contractor. The purpose of this check is to prevent wild swings in the program, burdening local distributors, solar contractors and TVA with applications that do not have contracts.

4. Beginning June 1, roll unused capacity forward from the 2012 SSI program into 2013. Since the pilot program was a 2-year 20 MW program, and TVA had less than 2 MW built in the first year, 18 MW should be available in 2013. In addition, only signed contracts should count toward the cap, not simply applications received.

We are not asking TVA to increase their spending on solar electricity; we simply want to see that 100% of allotted capacity is built. On the other hand, TVA’s spending on solar electricity is minimal, and we refute TVA’s claim that they need to cap solar incentives to protect ratepayers. Private individuals and businesses make the capital investments in solar projects, and TVA should be expected to buy the electricity at a rate that reflects the value of the power that does not pollute, does not create costly disasters and does not require TVA (ratepayers) to pay for new power plants, maintenance, compliance, insurance, etc.  In addition, when TVA buys solar electricity, they own all of the environmental attributes, the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), that can be sold on the SREC market.  Solar is a win for everyone – TVA, ratepayers, clean air and water and the economy.

We encourage you to contact TVA to voice your opinions. Click here to visit the TVA Board of Directors webpage.

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