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Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth. Enough energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year! A range of technologies and innovations are used to convert sunlight into usable energy, such as solar water heating, space heating and cooling, and solar photovoltaics (PV) for electricity.

blended_average_solar_prices.pngThough these technologies operate on essentially a free resource – sunlight – the upfront capital cost, particularly for PV, has historically been a hurdle for most consumers. In recent years, however, technology advancements, creative financing options, and enabling policies have significantly reduced the installed costs for PV systems, resulting in rapid market adoption across the residential, non-residential and utility sectors. The figure on the right, based off SEIA & GTM Research’s 2012 Q2 Solar Market Insight Report, illustrates just how much the average price of PV systems has decreased since 1998.

Solar energy represents a strategic national opportunity to create jobs and support economic development, while also reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. As with The Southeast United States is second only to the Southwest regarding regions of the country with the best solar resources (also known as solar irradiance or insolation). The long, hot and humid summers and resulting high electricity usage (air conditioning) coincides well with peak solar energy output during the day. At the end of 2011, North Carolina and Florida led the Southeast in installed PV capacity, with 85 megawatts (MW) and 95 MW, respectively (IREC 2012).

cumulative_us_solar_pv_installations.pngThough relatively small in market share compared to states such as California (~1,500 MW) and New Jersey (~565 MW), the continued decline in costs for solar has sparked a growing interest by consumers and utilities across all southern states. In addition, several states – such as Tennessee and Georgia – are now home to major solar manufacturing facilities, further developing the solar industry and southern economy. America’s solar energy market has grown exponentially in the last 10 years and has an even sunnier outlook for the years to come.

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Tracking SACE’s Carbon Footprint

I am proud to announce that SACE reduced our carbon dioxide emissions by another ten metric tons from 2011 to 2012! As in years past, after calculating our footprint, we purchased offsets for the equivalent of 166 metric tons of carbon dioxide from NativeEnergy. As with the last three years, we calculated Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This means we calculated carbon dioxide…

SACE Solar PV Installation Goes LIVE

After a year of working hard on energy efficiency improvements, in March 2012 SACE's Knoxville, TN office officially became solar-powered. Our Green Earth Solar system's performance - from kilowatts produced to pollution reduced and dollars earned - can be tracked through this Sunny Portal. SACE's Office in Knoxville is now equipped with a 9.36 kW, ground-mounted system, with Sharp ND-240QCJ panels, a Sunny Boy…

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

Grants and loan guarantees are currently available through U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Energy for American Program (REAP). The funding is available to farmers and small rural businesses for renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment, energy technical assistance, energy audits, and feasibility studies. More information and other deadlines are available here. The USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is a federal cost-share…

TVA Green Power Switch

Like any revolutionary idea, the idea behind Green Power Switch is simple: harness the natural power of the wind, the sun, and the earth to create an energy source that's usable in our everyday lives. Working in cooperation with the environmental community, TVA developed Green Power Switch as a way to bring green power — electricity that’s generated by renewable resources such as solar,…

All About Solar

Solar energy is a highly reliable and proven technology for producing clean energy. Solar energy includes multiple technologies; some are known as passive and some are known as active. Passive technologies includes technologies for designing a home to take advantage of natural sunlight for heating and lighting. Active technologies include adding equipment to your home for producing electricity or hot water. Two common technologies…

Solar Energy Potential in the Southeast

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy continually tracks, researches, and analyzes the latest data available regarding renewable energy resources in the Southeast. Our review of eleven Southeastern states indicates that local energy resources are sufficient to fulfill an aggressive national mandate for renewable energy. These numbers are subject to updates and change as technology and markets continue to evolve. In the table below, we…

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Clean Energy Champions of the Southeast – Sharp Manufacturing Company

In our 28 years of tackling the region's energy challenges, SACE has met countless individuals who are truly making a difference and challenging the status quo. These clean energy champions are tireless in their dedication to their communities and to promoting responsible energy choices here in our region. Sharp Manufacturing Company of America is one such champion. Since 2003, Sharp has maintained solar manufacturing…

Solar Decathlon

Over the weekend of September 30th, SACE's Research Director, John Wilson, and Tennessee Valley Energy Policy Manager, Sam Gomberg, visited the 2011 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The event challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy efficiency and attractive. Here John Wilson points out some of the innovative features being…

Knoxville Solar Tour 2010

Knoxville's solar community shone even brighter than usual this past October 1st and 2nd when the city's annual Solar Tour took place throughout the greater Knoxville area. SACE Executive Director, Stephen Smith, goes over the details of the solar technologies installedat his Knoxville home, one of the sites along the city's October 2nd Solar Tour.

SACE and EETN Knoxville Solar Array

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy supports the first one megawatt solar farm in Tennessee.

Solar Installation

Dr. Stephen Smith shares how he's using the sun, earth, and the most energy efficient heating and cooling unit on the market to make his house a net zero energy home.

Solar In Tennessee

Gil Melear-Hough, Tennessee Director of Renewable Programs, shows that solar energy resources are available in Tennessee.

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Telepresser: Floridians Mobilizing for Solar

April 4, 2014 - This news conference discusses the need to unlock the solar market in Florida, and the upcoming Solar Uprising Rally in Tallahassee. Speakers include: Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Debbie Dooley, Green Ta Coalition Note: Conference recording picks up during Dr. Smith's remarks.

Solar Fit Radio Show Interview

August 24, 2013 - WNZF's Solar Fit Renewable Energy Show brings you interviews with the leaders in the renewable energy field and shows you how to have a environmentally-friendly lifestyle that won't put a dent in your wallet. In this episode, Host Bill Gallagher, President of Solar Fit, discusses solar power in Florida with SACE staffer Susan Glickman.

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