Sun Shines on New Energy Option for Tennesseans

November 8, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of business and environmental leaders announced a partnership to advance Tennessee in the race for solar capacity.

Tennesseans for Solar Choice launched its effort to ensure people have access to affordable, renewable energy. grview-60177-1

Unlike 36 other states, Tennessee does not allow for net metering, which allows consumers and businesses to sell extra power they generate from solar back to the power grid.

“We want to assure that there are no market barriers and customers have the choice to use this technology,” says Stephen Smith, executive director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “This coalition made up of conservative, Tea Party activists, business and the environmental community is advocating for market freedom and customer choice.”

Currently, the Volunteer State ranks 25th in the nation in installed solar capacity. Neighboring state North Carolina ranks second and Georgia comes in fourth.

Smith and other member groups of Tennesseans for Solar Choice argue the Tennessee Valley Authority does not support growth in solar.

The utility does have two programs that it says aim to encourage solar production through the Tennessee Valley.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there currently are more than 150 solar companies employing 2,200 people in Tennessee.

Smith says there are opportunities for growth in consumer choice as well as economic growth.

“We think that is a backwards approach to using these technologies,” he states. “In a state like Tennessee we think we should have the freedom and we should use innovation to embrace these new clean technologies, like solar power, and not create roadblocks, impediments and red tape that are all designed to limit customer choice and customer access.”

Former TVA Chairman David Freeman and members from Conservatives for Energy Freedom, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the NAACP are among those joining the coalition to advance the state’s efforts in the solar industry.


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