Under the Direction of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Tennessee Continues to Fall Far Behind Regional Counterparts in Solar Progress

Second Annual Report Highlights Low Average Watts Per Customer

April 11, 2019
Contact: Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865-235-1448, [email protected]

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy held a telephone press conference on April 11 to address media questions on the report. The recording is available here. Speakers included:

Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Bryan Jacob, Solar Program Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
John D. Wilson, Deputy Director for Regulatory Policy, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy


Knoxville, Tenn. – TVA claims to be experiencing a solar renaissance but a new report from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) contradicts that claim. Despite aggressive growth in other parts of the Southeast Region, Tennessee continues to lag when it comes to solar growth and forecast solar development. The Solar in the Southeast 2018 Annual Report from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) was released today, providing a comprehensive look at the region and highlighting solar data and trends, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Using the metric “watts per customer,” which looks at the amount of installed solar relative to the total number of customers served, SACE offers a unique analysis, with detailed information at the regional, state, and utility level. The watts per customer metric provides an unbiased standard by which utilities and states can be compared and contrasted.

Despite near-term solar projects announced with corporations such as Facebook and Google, Tennessee’s current and projected solar capacity remains at less than half that of its regional counterparts, and it appears that TVA is only willing to cater to specific corporate demand for solar as opposed to implementing meaningful solar development plans throughout its service territory. TVA has also taken steps to actively discourage residential and commercial scale solar, reducing the rate it pays for solar to below retail and announcing cancelation of its Green Power Providers Program at the end of 2019 with no alternative yet presented.

“Tennessee Valley Authority was an early regional leader in small-scale, distributed solar. Now TVA is hostile to solar development and appears only willing to work with large corporation such as Facebook and Google as opposed to playing a leadership role in bringing solar opportunities to all customers,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “TVA has the chance to regain their reputation as an innovative leader by taking advantage of the solar potential in their region, and yet it continues to fall behind.”

The full report can be viewed here.