Although Tennessee has picturesque scenery and plenty of sunshine, there has not been much in the way of state-sponsored legislation to promote renewable energy sources. This is due, in part, to the easily available coal in the region, although there are some incentives at the local levels in Tennessee to help you keep your wallet heavy and your carbon footprint light.
Tennessee has a solar rating of “good,” meaning that with local and federal incentives, a 3 kilowatt (kW) home solar system costing around $50,000 would pay for itself within 30 years. Not only would you be saving over $800 a year on utility bills with such a system, but these generally increase property values by about $10,000.
The main program that would apply to many of Tennessee’s resident’s would be the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Generation Partners Program, but you may also quality for a Small Business Energy Loan.
|Program Type||State Loan Program|
|Technologies||Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind|
|Amount||Up to $300,000|
Loan application available from Tennessee Department of Economic & Community
Development Energy Division
|Official Web Site||http://www.state.tn.us/ecd/BD_smallbizenergy.html|
While state-funded loans are not yet available to Tennessee residences, you may still qualify for a zero-interest or low-interest loan for energy efficient products, as well as solar panels and passive solar heating systems if you run a small business.
Any business with less than 300 employees or less than $3.5 million in annual profits can qualify, and the interest rate varies based on the community the business is located in. For businesses in areas rated as “Three Stars,” the loans are offered at 0 percent interest, and for other areas, loans are at 3 percent annual interest. These loans can be for up to 7 years, and for up to $300,000. Free audits for energy and heating systems are also available through the state.
|Program Type||Performance-Based Incentive|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Wind Energy, Biomass|
1,000 plus $0.12/kWh above the base rate for solar photovoltaic systems and $0.03/kWh
above the retail rate for all other eligible renewable sources
|Required Documentation||Application form submitted to local power company|
|Official Web Site||http://www.tva.com/greenpowerswitch/partners/|
If you live in an area where utilities are provided by one of the 91 participating power companies serviced by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), you may qualify for a partnership program where you can earn discounts on your power bill from renewable energy, or even make money if your renewable energy system produces more power than you consume.
If you have a photovoltaic system with an alternating current output between 500 W and 200 kW, and your local power supplier participates in the program, the TVA will purchase 100 percent of the energy at $0.12 per kWh, in the form of credits on your power bill, and periodic payments for excess credits you earn.
More information can be found at the TVA website or by calling 866-673-4340.
Property Tax Exemption
State Grant Program
State Loan Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Solar Access Law/Guideline
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.