FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2018
Contact: Alissa Schafer, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 865-235-1448
As Third Quarter Closes, TVA Remains On Track for Worst Solar Year Since 2011
Tennesseans for Solar Choice coalition continues to highlight TVAâ€™s lack of solar progress
Media Availability – Members of the Tennesseans for Solar Choice Coalition will be available to speak with reporters Wednesday, September 26, 2018 11:00 am ET/ 10:00 am CT at 727-258-5789 PIN: 97609
Knoxville, Tenn. – 2018 has been a great year for solar throughout the country, and this week over 20,000 attendees have gathered at yet another record-breaking solar conference in California, Solar Power International, where Tennesseans for Solar Choice member Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is also participating, along with solar member companies from TenneSEIA. Despite some challenges, the industry as a whole has continued to grow, but that growth is nowhere to be seen in Tennessee. As Tennesseans for Solar Choice pointed out months ago, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been on track to have their worst solar year since 2011. Now, as quarter three closes, nothing has changed, and TVA is falling further behind where they could be in comparison to their peer utilities throughout the region.
When reviewing their solar programs for a Q3 update, it appears that TVA has continued to stonewall any type of solar progress. Here is an update on the three solar programs:
Green Power Providers (GPP) â€” By the end of September last year, the GPP program had 5.35 megawatts (MW) of projects approved and in various stages of construction. This year, applications currently stand at 1.73 MW, down approximately 2/3 from this point last year.
Distributed Solar Solutions (DSS) â€” Nothing has happened with this program in 2018, as TVA has yet to renew it, meaning that the year is almost over and it has yet to be a viable option for solar. TVA has applauded the DSS projects that have been completed recently, but these installations are legacies of the 2017 DSS program.
Request for Proposal (RFP) â€” Last year, TVA issued an RFP for 200 MW of utility-scale solar. This request generated significant interest and TVA received proposals for about 35 times that amount. Despite the overwhelming response, TVA has yet to award any of those contracts.
Members of Tennesseans for Solar Choice have provided the following statements:
Gil Hough Executive Director of TenneSEIA (Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association) – â€œAccording to the most recent reporting from GTM Researchâ€™s Solar Market Insight, the only states who have installed less solar than Tennessee so far this year are Wyoming, Montana, Kentucky, and Mississippi. Given the fact that applications and project awards this year are down or non-existent due to recent changes from TVA, the pipeline for the remainder of 2018 as well as 2019 is looking very poor. This uncertainty and low forecast has made 2018 a tough year for many of our local solar companies.â€
Debbie Dooley, President of Conservatives for Energy Freedom and co-founder of the National Tea Party – â€œWhen TVAâ€™s own solar programs are broken, how are their customers supposed to have a real choice about going solar? The lack of solar in Tennessee is a testament to the barriers that TVA is putting up for their own customers, and sadly more of the same bad behavior we have come to expect from this monopoly power company, making harmful decisions with no accountability.â€
Lenda Sherrell, State Director, Tennessee Small Business Alliance – â€œOne of the reasons that the GPP program is down this year is because of changes to the program by TVA that makes it less economically viable for small businesses. Meanwhile, TVA continues to show their large industrial customers preferential treatment while passing on higher rates and increased fees to the rest of us. Small businesses are the heart and soul of Tennessee, and it is disappointing to see TVA continue to ignore our concerns about their clearly broken solar programs.â€
Elder Jimmie Garland, Vice President of the Tennessee Conference of the NAACP – â€œAs bills continue to go up with the addition of new fees from TVA and a complete blockage of solar programs, it is the everyday citizens of Tennessee who are feeling the burden. While some of the 2018 solar programs are still unannounced, here at the end of September, many customers are left in the metaphorical and literal darkness. Where is the transparency and concern for your customers, TVA?â€
Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy – â€œTVA is becoming the regionâ€™s worst laggard for solar installation. This costs the Valley local jobs and affordable, clean energy. As TVAâ€™s solar deficit grows, 21st century companies with corporate renewable energy goals will seek to locate in other parts of the Southeast as the truth about TVAâ€™s hostility to solar energy becomes more evident. TVA’s current solar program is more about PR than sustained orderly development of this important resource.â€
Tennesseans for Solar Choice is a diverse and multi-partisan coalition, working to remove the market barriers and enable the fair expansion of solar power to benefit all Tennesseans. Learn more at www.tnsolarchoice.org.