Last Updated on Oct. 27, 2014
Alabama, affectionately called the Yellowhammer state after the state bird, has strikingly few incentives for renewable energy development. And the lack of enthusiasm for solar at the government level translates directly into low numbers for solar adoption.
At the end of 2013, fewer than 150 homes in Alabama were powered by the sun, according to figures from the Solar Jobs Census. In terms of solar jobs, the state ranks 42 in the country.
That slow growth can be attributed to a relatively cloudy atmosphere for the solar industry. There is no strong net metering policy in the state, which means home and business owners who produce more power than they need and feed energy back onto the grid don’t get any credit on their utility bills for the excess.
Alabama doesn’t have a renewable energy portfolio standard and its policy on third-party-owned systems is murky at best. That means most people have to pony up cash out of pocket to install solar panels.
The state legislature has not made renewable energy development a priority, and discussions on the topic have been truncated at best. The state does have some hydroelectric power sources and two biomass electric plants fueled by lumber industry waste.
Alabama is rich in other power resources and enjoys the lowest property tax of any state in the country, making it hard to incentivize solar with property tax discounts. The state income tax, while one of the highest for the poorest families, is—on average—one of the lowest in the United States, which also makes it a poor candidate for incentives to those homeowners who would consider installing solar.
While the state itself has made no strides toward incentivizing private and corporate installations of clean energy sources, a federal program operating regionally has stepped up to the plate.
Those Alabamans who live in the part of the state within the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Valley Association do have access to funding and rebates.
Last Updated on Oct. 27, 2014
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|Program Type||Performance-based Incentive|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind Energy, Biomass, Low-impact Hydroelectric|
|Amount||$1,000 upon installation plus retail rate and $.04 per kilowatt hour in years 1 through 10 and guaranteed retail rate of power in years 11 through 20.|
|Required Documentation||Completed application submitted to local utility within the TVA jurisdiction|
|Official Web Site||http://www.tva.com/greenpowerswitch/providers/|
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a government-owned independent corporation that controls utilities in Tennessee and major parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, aims to increase green power production.
The TVA has created an incentive program for independent residents and companies that want to generate green power.
Residents living within the jurisdiction of the TVA qualify for a $1,000 payment when they hook new renewable energy sources up to the grid.
They will also receive $.04 above the market rate for power for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power they contribute to the electricity grid in the first 10 years after installation and are guaranteed to receive credit at the retail rate of electricity for another 10 years after that.
Systems sized between 0.5 kilowatts and 50 kilowatts are eligible.
Maintenance and upgrades to the independent power generation systems are the sole responsibility of the system owners.