SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Step 3: TVA’s Generation Partners Program
Since the Smith family made their transition to solar power dependence, they have been able to produce more power than their house demands, giving them an opportunity to sell that energy back to the local utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority. They are actually able to watch their home meter rotating backward, as energy is produced by their system and put back on the public grid for use. With the purchase of a Sunny Boy 700US inverter, the system is grid-tied, and data is collected and accessible online, showing the amount of energy historically produced by the system. “I enjoy watching the meter move backward,” Smith said. “At any point in the day I can actually go online and see how much energy is being produced. That has been a very rewarding aspect of this whole transition.” With an output capacity averaging more than 700 kilowatt-hours per month, any energy that the Smith family doesn’t use will go back on the TVA energy grid through the Generation Partners Program. Through the program, the family receives a payment equal to the wholesale rate of power, plus a 12-cent premium. The total payment is roughly 21 cents per kilowatt hour. This payment is expected to increase as the cost of wholesale power adjusts to increasing market value. The Smiths also took advantage of a 30 percent federal tax credit and a $500 local rebate through Knoxville utilities.