LightWave Participates in Nashville Park(ing) Day

On Sept. 20, artists, activists and citizens of Nashville temporarily transformed metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual global event called PARK(ing) Day.

More than 30 parking spots were transformed during this year’s event, including a space on Broadway occupied by a 9-hour urban farm sponsored by Nashville Foodscapes, Nashville Grown, the Urban Hydro Project and LightWave Solar. LightWave Solar provided power for Urban Hydro so they could demonstrate hydroponic plant products in their parking space.

PARK(ing) Day Nashville is coordinated by the Nashville Civic Design Center in conjunction with in kind support from Metro Public Works. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco.The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

Solar Power World 250: Stories From The South

Tennessee Installer Shares Lessons Learned
It’s hard to say what the most important lesson learned is. I can say that being passionate about the solar industry is what has carried me through the rough spots. Also important is having faith that it’s the right thing to do and that it will work out if we don’t give up. But at the same time, you must be willing to accept the outcome after you’ve given it everything you have.

There’s an old Persian proverb, ‘Pray to God, but don’t stop hoeing.’

Having other team members that are motivated by our mission to build out as much solar as possible makes for a unified workplace; We’re all in it together. We’re earning a living and paying the bills, but having fun too.

Develop a team approach and trust each other to make the right decisions. And even when they turn out not to be right, learn from it, being forgiving and plow ahead. I’ve had to learn to let others do the things I used to do. Turns out, they are really good at it.

Education and training is also something we believe in, even when it takes time and money. Having a knowledgeable crew makes us all stronger.

Lastly, we value efficiency. We don’t want to waste resources, materials or time. Building an efficient solar project requires optimizing the site and design for job-specific conditions to get maximum energy production. We’re turning light into electricity – it’s what we do.

– Steve Johnson, President/Founder of LightWave Solar

Solar Power World Magazine Ranks LightWave #41 in Commercial Systems

Solar Power World, the industry’s leading source for technology, development and installation news, presented the 2013 Top 250 Solar Contractors list in September. The list ranks applicants according to influence in the residential, commercial and utility solar-installation markets.

“Whether it’s a global enterprise or a family-run business, the 250 companies on our list are chasing after the bright future of solar,” says Frank Andorka, editorial director at Solar Power World. “These contractors have worked hard to build an $11-billion industry, and this is the recognition they deserve.”

LightWave Solar is ranked ranked No. 41 for commercial systems and No. 96 overall in residential, commercial and utility. LightWave is honored to be a part of this elite list! View complete list here:

LightWave Introduces Solar On the Go

Use the sun’s power where and when you need it most: power outages, camping, tailgating, weddings, craft shows, events… LightWave’s new portable solar power bank was designed to perform. It charges quickly and can provide enough electricity for hours of lighting, refrigeration, fans, cell phone/laptop charging, entertainment systems, small power tools and more! At home or on the road, harness the sun’s power and let it work for you. Contact LightWave today at 615-641-4050 and ask us about our Solar On The Go power bank. You can even take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credit. LightWave customers will receive an additional 10% discount on the system!

Where We’ll Be in October 2013

Solar Investment Strategy Lunch & Learn in Huntsville, AL Oct 17

On Friday, Oct, LightWave Solar will host an informative solar workshop to explain the benefits of adding solar photovoltaics (PV) to a home or business. We will cover solar system components and cost, current financial incentives, and local solar project highlights.

Solar Investment Strategy Lunch & Learn
Thurs, Oct 17 11:30am – 1:30pm
Progress Bank
201 Williams Ave SW

Huntsville, AL 35801

Lunch will be provided. The workshop is free and open to the public!  Please RSVP to or 615-973-2303.

Solar demand in Tennessee exceeds TVA cap in less than one day

Industry group urges TVA board to increase solar program capacity, align solar programs with market demand

Three members of TenneSEIA, the state business association representing the solar industry, exceeded TVA’s addition of 2.5 megawatts of solar energy into the Green Power Providers program by 20% yesterday—representing only three of the estimated 64 solar installers in the state and demonstrating that TVA’s solar programs restrict the investment of private capital and do not meet market demand. TVA opened and closed its solar programAugust 1st, after TenneSEIA requested in May the utility reopen the program this year.

TenneSEIA is urging TVA’s Board of Directors to increase the amount of solar energy TVA makes available to the market prior to the board voting on the 2014 budget at its August 22nd meeting in Knoxville.

“TVA’s current program for solar energy development leaves the market underserved and as a result, it creates a boom-bust cycle for the industry,” said Gil Hough, president of TenneSEIA. “There is a proven, market based remedy for the unintended and unnecessary risks to businesses and jobs that TVA’s current solar development program provides and TenneSEIA looks forward to exploring those options with TVA management and its board of directors.”

TenneSIEA responded to the closure of TVA’s solar programs in April 2013by providing a series of recommendations to TVA.  Primarily, TenneSEIA urged the authority to abandon the practice of setting arbitrary calendar year caps on solar installations and adopt a market driven model that decreases incentives based on the total amount of solar installed and incorporates the value of solar energy, which can apply downward pressure to rates, into the budgeting process.

TVA responded by adding 2.5 megawatts of unused solar capacity from the previous cap, back into the Green Power Providers on August 1, 2013 for the remainder of 2013. TVA also agreed to discuss a more market driven approach to solar energy development in the Valley with TenneSEIA at a July 23, 2013 meeting.

“We knew the 2.5 megawatts would be inadequate to meet demand for solar energy in Tennessee and it was, ” said Steve Johnson, president of LightWave Solar with offices in Nashville and Memphis. ARiES Energy and Green Earth Solar are TenneSEIA’s other members that together exceeded the 2.5 megawatt cap on the first day Green Power Providers was reopened.

“Tennesseans want to invest their own, private capital to build, operate and maintain clean energy generation for TVA and they cannot because TVA’s solar programs are closed.  Consumers should be fairly compensated for investing their own, private capital into generating electricity for a utility,” added Johnson.

TVA and TenneSEIA, along with other industry stakeholders met on July 23, 2013 to discuss the unnecessary risks TVA’s current solar programs create for Tennessee’s businesses and workforce.

“The meeting was informative and TenneSEIA appreciates TVA’s engagement of the stakeholders in determining an optimal design for the 2014 solar programs,” said Hough. “However, TenneSEIA is concerned that TVA’s management lacks the guidance and resources necessary to sustain the development of the solar industry. Therefore, TenneSEIA has reached out to the board of directors to support the immediate and long-term interests of the solar industry, public, and TVA. All three elements are critical, however the most pressing issue is the first – to increase the capacity of the TVA solar program offerings in 2014 – as it is impacted by the immediate budget process.”

TenneSEIA requested that TVA account for the true value of solar energy during the budget process and while developing programs for 2014. Nationally recognized electricity industry expert, Karl Rábago, explained during a TenneSEIA stakeholder meeting in June that solar energy can apply downward pressure on electricity rates because of the value it provides utilities. That value comes in the form of avoided cost of fuel, infrastructure and capital investment. Not to mention the environmental attributes and Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) TVA receives that are tradable, non-tangible energy commodities that represent proof that 1megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource.

Market based approaches for solar energy development decrease incentives based on the total megawatts of solar energy installed, rather than closing the program completely. This kind of approach aligns supply and demand with the decreasing costs of installing solar instead of arbitrarily aligning solar programs with a budget cycle or calendar year. (Click here to read 2011 memo to TVA Board of Directors outlining the approach.)

To put solar energy generation into perspective, it would take 200 years, at a rate of 20 megawatts of solar installed per year, to bring solar energy to just five percent of TVA’s generation portfolio.