TVA Moves To Increase Solar Energy Capacity, Expand Renewable Programs

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Tennessee Valley Authority is taking steps that could significantly increase TVA’s solar energy capacity in 2014 while ensuring TVA’s green power programs remain sustainable and cost effective.

TVA is offering a total of 126 megawatts of renewable capacity in the coming year through a variety of power-purchasing programs for homes, businesses and commercial installations, marking a 7 percent increase over 2013.

TVA will be adding capacity and reducing pricing incentives to reflect lower technology costs for generators and to support lower electric rates for the Tennessee Valley’s nine million residents.

TVA is revising its three renewable energy programs particularly in response to increasingly popular solar energy, with a majority of new capacity offered at prices competitive with TVA’s wholesale costs.

TVA currently has 128 megawatts of operating or committed solar projects under contract at more than 2,000 locations across the region. TVA’s renewables portfolio also includes 1,500 megawatts from wind and 60 megawatts from biomass.

“Demand for our renewables programs is strong,” said Patty West, director of TVA’s Renewable Energy Programs. “We are working with our local power companies to direct capacity to the most cost-effective programs and streamlining the processes for these programs to make it easier for participants.

“The cost of renewable technologies, especially solar, is dropping dramatically,” she said. “TVA is aligning its program offerings with those declining costs. That means that Valley residents will pay less for renewable energy.”

Program Improvements at a Glance:

Green Power Providers

Renewable Standard Offer

Solar Solutions Initiative

  • Doubling residential capacity

 

  • Removed 50 percent cap on any specific technology

 

  • 60 percent increase in capacity
  • Extending program 2 years to 2015

TVA is doubling the residential capacity set aside in its most popular program, Green Power Providers. TVA is making 10 megawatts of capacity available for these small renewable projects of less than 50 kilowatts.

Capacity also is being increased for mid-size solar projects by 60 percent in the Solar Solutions Initiative program, which focuses on installations from 50 kilowatts to 1 megawatt in size, and encourages use of local installers to support local economies.

TVA will offer 16 megawatts of SSI capacity in 2014, up from 10 megawatts in 2013. TVA also will extend the program, originally a two-year pilot program, for two more years to 2015. 

With 2014 incentives, TVA will pay 14 cents per kilowatt for solar energy through Green Power Providers and 10 cents per kilowatt through the Solar Solutions Initiative, a price reduction of 26 percent and 17 percent, respectively, from 2013.

TVA continues to offer 100 megawatts of capacity available in the Renewable Standard Offer program, which supports large projects between 1 megawatt and 20 megawatts. For 2014, all 100 megawatts of available capacity will be allowed for any of the qualified technologies, including wind, solar and biomass projects. TVA will continue to purchase output at prices competitive with the market.

“We are providing consumers with a renewable energy program that builds upon the success of earlier programs,” Ms. West said. “These programs balance low-cost and cleaner energy resulting in a renewable portfolio that is good for all nine million consumers in the Valley.”


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