Despite the fact that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) actually reduced its incentives for its 2016 distributed solar program, TVA has awarded 16.7 megawatts (MWs) of distributed solar capacity to four lucky local power companies (LPCs). These LPCs, located in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, applied through TVA’s Distributed Solar Solutions pilot program that recently rolled out in January 2016. This Distributed Solar Solutions program is one of the outcomes of a recent TVA stakeholder discussion and study.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) was part of a year-and-a-half long process with TVA, industry and other stakeholders to study the value of distributed solar, commonly known as roof-top solar. Although TVA’s process did accomplish the goal of assigning a numerical value that quantified some of the savings solar energy provides, as explained in a previous blog, the resulting assessment failed to capture all of the benefits that are included in the true value of solar, like job creation benefits and reduced air and water pollution.
TVA reviewed 11 LPC proposals submitted in response to the Distributed Solar Solutions pilot program and decided to award 16.7 MWs to the following four LPCs; Chickasaw Electric Cooperative (TN), East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corporation (AL) and Johnson City Power Board (TN). Proposals submitted by the LPCs were created in conjunction with developers and included projects ranging from 1 MW to 5 MWs.
SACE applauds the LPCs for taking advantage of this limited opportunity provided by TVA to develop rooftop-solar generation that will benefit those companies’ ratepayers. However, SACE will continue to work with TVA, industry and stakeholders to increase distributed solar opportunities so that all of TVA’s customers, as well as LPCs, can take advantage of the myriad of benefits of distributed solar generation in the Valley.