As an industry association that represents the entire solar value chain here in Tennessee, it is important to our members that TenneSEIA actively engage the policy development process. We actively pursue the creation of policies that provide for an environment that is conducive to private sector growth and job creation. Through our initiatives and policy work our main focus is to increase end-user demand and expand Tennessee’s solar manufacturing base. Through public-private partnerships, TenneSEIA is committed to making solar energy a mainstream energy source in the state of Tennessee. Our focus is to communicate the economic benefits of our industry and help decision makers realize the potential for industry growth.
University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture report on impact of utility scale solar on Farmland
Local Government Resource Documents
- Model Tennessee Solar Zoning Ordinance – Final, 4833-3498-8020, 9
- TenneSEIA – Decommissioning Bill FAQ, 4855-1852-5729, 6
A historical snapshot of major State of Tennessee and TVA renewable energy programs
2003 through 2019, Generation Partners (GP) was created by TVA and later modified and renamed the Green Power Providers (GPP) program which serves the residential and small commercial market, the GPP program ends at the end of 2019. The program offeres a long term contract for the purchase of electricity from renewable energy systems. The price was set for the length of the contract, but the offer declined over time starting well over retail to ending below the retail price of electricity. As of December 2018, the combined GP and GPP program had over 3,500 generating systems with a total nameplate capacity of about 110 MWDC.
2006 through 2009, Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development offered the Tennessee Clean Energy Technology grant (TN-CET) that provided 40% of installed cost up to $75,000 to for-profit businesses for the installation of renewable energy technologies
2010 through 2012, the State of Tennessee dedicated Recovery Act funds to support the Volunteer State Solar Initiative (VSSI), which created the West Tennessee Solar Farm (WTSF) and Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI). The West Tennessee Solar Farm is a 5MW DC solar PV facility in Haywood County. The Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI) administered the $23.5 Million Solar Opportunity Fund, which consisted of: The Solar Innovation Grant Program, and The Solar Installation Grant Program, offered to for-profit entities. Results of this investment included 171 solar PV installations funded through TSI grant programs; More than 350 persons participated in TSI’s solar workforce development classes; 6 companies in the TNSVC received specialized, in-depth technical assistance from TSI; and over 7.2 MW of nameplate capacity installed under the combined TSI grant programs.
2010, The State of Tennessee passes a law that allows tax-exempt purchases of machinery and equipment used to produce electricity in a certified green energy production facility. The definition includes solar energy systems.
2010 through 2015, TVA offered the Renewable Standard Offer (RSO). The RSO offered a set kWh price for mid-size renewable projects under long-term contracts for up to 20 years. As of December 2018, 20 RSO facilities with over 157 MWDC of generating capacity were operating in the Tennessee Valley.
2012 through 2015, TVA offered the Solar Solutions Initiative (SSI). Which included an economic incentive on top of the RSO, for solar projects larger than 50 kW but under 1 MW. As of December 2018, the program had 56 operating facilities with a total capacity of about 43 MWDC.
2013, The State of Tennessee offers a special ‘ad valorem’ property tax assessment for certified green energy production facilities. This includes the assessed property value of 12.5% of installed costs for solar projects that are certified green energy production facilities,
2015 through 2017, TVA offered the Distributed Solar Solutions (DSS) program. The DSS program was designed to encourage the TVA-region LPCs to develop and operate solar projects between 50 kW and 5 MW. As of first quarter 2019, the program had 3 operating facilities with a total capacity of 8 MWDC and 10 facilities with a total capacity of about 18 MWDC approved but not yet operating.
2017, TVA issued an RFP for the procurement of new renewable energy resources and, as a result of the proposals awarded four contracts to build 674 MWac of new solar power to meet the renewable energy goals of the new data centers being developed by Facebook and Google.
In February 2019, the TVA Board approved two new mid-scale programs the Flexibility Research Project and the Renewable Investment Agreement (RIA). Both of these programs are designed for TVA and the LPCs to have a competitor for commercial and industrial customers who are planning to go behind the meter. The FRP program has since come to a close as it was replaced in function with LPCs who signed long term Partnership contract with true self generation.
Announced in 2020 and starting to be implemented in 2021 Generation Flexibility, allows TVA long-term LPC partners to self generate 5% of their load with the
deployment of up to 2,000 MW of distributed solar to provide clean, local generation
In 2021 TVA is launching the Green Connect program for smaller installations. The Green Connect Program is for residential customers of the Tennessee Valley who are interested in installing on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems with or without battery storage. The new Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Program provides participants with confidence that their system has been installed to standards developed by TVA, in partnership with TenneSEIA, local power companies of the Tennessee Valley, and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA).
The Program “connects” residential customers with installers who are members of TVA’s elite and long-standing Quality Contractor Network (QCN). QCN members are licensed and insured and agree to install systems to the Green Connect Program standards. Installers complete special training and have a history of customer satisfaction. Participating installers not only receive training at no cost, but also receive reimbursements for eligible systems, and customer leads. The Green Connect Program launches on January 4, 2021. For more information on the Green Connect Program or becoming a member of the QCN, please visit www.greenconnect.com.
Green Connect workshop
Solar going forward
TVA’s current operating solar capacity is 416 MW. As of the second quarter of 2021, TVA has solar commitments for over 2,300 MW, pending environmental review. Including these projects, TVA anticipates adding 10,000 MW of solar by 2035, a large portion driven by customer demand, which would represent a 24-fold capacity increase from today.
Earning LEED Renewable Energy and Heat Island Reduction credits in the TVA service
Largest Solar PV projects operating in Tennessee
As of May 2018
Millington Solar Facility
Shelby Co. TN
Mulberry Solar Farm
McNairy Co. TN
Selmer Solar Farm
McNairy Co. TN
Latitude Solar Center
Hardeman Co. TN
Providence Solar Center
Madison Co. TN
Wildberry Solar Center
Fayette Co. TN
Selmer North I Solar Farm
McNairy Co. TN
Selmer North II Solar Farm
McNairy Co. TN
Volkswagen Solar Power Plant
Hamilton, Co. TN
West Tennessee Solar Farm
Haywood Co. TN
Washington Co. TN
TenneSEIA depends on its amazing members and supporters to help us “TAKE ACTION” for solar energy. We encourage our members to engage in traditional advocacy activities including grassroots advocacy such as contacting state legislators and other government officials. As the legislative session begins, we will communicate regularly with members and supporters on ways to influence policy makers in support of this growing industry.