TVA Threatens Solar Industry in the Valley

The graph below shows the amount of solar installed in TVA’s residential and small commercial solar program, Green Power Providers, since 2009. You can see that solar installs have been falling since 2012 and only 1.5 MW of solar was installed in the first half of this year!

TVA and Solar

Solar installations sky rocketed in 2011, and TVA began cutting back the program. The market withstood the drops in the incentive payments since solar costs were falling significantly as well. However, system size limits and program caps have resulted in a program that undercuts the solar market.

Long story short: The demand for solar is higher than TVA’s 10 MW cap, and the extremely low cap has nearly killed the region’s solar industry. Though capacity is set at 10 MW, it is highly unlikely that 10 MW will actually be built in 2014 due to TVA’s approval process. We estimate 5-6 MW of solar will be installed in 2014.

As solar continues to grow nationally, as peer utilities set much bigger solar goals, and with solar prices at their lowest, TVA should double or triple solar program capacity, or get rid of the stifling cap altogether. If you would like to help, you can email the TVA board members at board@tva.gov. Feel free to include the graph above and let them know you would like to see more solar installed in the Valley.
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LightWave Solar on 2014 Top 400 U.S. Solar Contractors List

LightWave Solar on 2014 Top 400 Solar Contractor's List

Solar Power World magazine recently released their 2014 Top 400 Solar Contractors list which ranks companies based on megawatts of solar installed in 2013.

Despite TVA’s program closure last year, LightWave Solar ranked #160 overall and #75 on the Top 100 Commercial Solar Contractors list.

We are the first commercial-scale Tennessee installer on both lists!

Check out the full report here.

TVA Solar Program Update

TVAThere is still time to get in the 2014 TVA Green Power Providers program which allows 4 MW of residential solar projects and 6 MW of commercial solar projects.

As of June 9th, 120 kW of residential capacity is still available. TVA will maintain a 30% wait list as projects in the reserved capacity drop out. For commercial projects, 100% of capacity is already reserved, but a portion of the wait list is still available. Get on the waitlist today! Once 30% wait lists are full, the program will close for the rest of the year.

TVA is no longer accepting applications under 2014’s Solar Solutions Initiative for projects 50kW-1MW. Program is 100% reserved, and we expect it to reopen in 2015.

Contact us today if you are interested in building a solar project in 2014! Time and program capacity is limited!

USDA Now Accepting Applications for Solar Grants

USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant for agricultural producers and small rural businesses covers up to 25% of the cost of a solar installation. Applications are due July 7, 2014!

“We anticipate funding levels under REAP for 2014 to be at or higher than last year, so applications have a stronger chance of receiving awards than previous years,” says Will Dodson, Energy Director at USDA, Rural Development in Tennessee.
Contact us for details, and let us get started with your solar project and grant application. We take care of grant paperwork!

TVA Opening Solar Programs in January

TVATVA’s solar programs are now open for a limited time. Under Solar Solutions Initiative for projects 50kW-1MW, TVA will begin accepting applications on Jan 1st on a first-come, first-served basis. TVA has allocated 16MW for 2014.

Under Green Power Providers for projects 50kW or less, TVA is accepting reservation forms for a limited time from Jan 15-Feb 17. TVA has allocated 4MW for residential projects and 6MW for commercial projects.

Contact us today if you are interested in building a solar project in 2014!  Time and program capacity is limited!

TVA’s Solar Program Re-Opens August 1st!

On June 19 TVA announced that they will add 2.5MW to the Green Power Providers program on August 1st. While the industry appreciates 2.5MW, the demand for solar far exceeds this limited capacity.  We expect 2.5MW to be gone in one or two days.

TenneSEIA, the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association, is asking for an additional 2.5MW to be added on October 1st.  This would allow the solar industry to withstand the 3 month closure from May-July.

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.