On Thursday the Tennessee Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) to urge the Tennessee Valley Authority and local power companies to continue expanding opportunities for Tennesseans and businesses to utilize renewable energy, including solar power. The final vote was 30 to 0.
The resolution specifically states the senate’s support for the right of Tennesseans to install renewable energy projects at their homes and businesses.
The resolution also calls on TVA and its local power companies to facilitate interconnections for small renewable energy projects, like roof-top solar systems, throughout the state with simple and uniform interconnection procedures.
“The Sierra Club thanks Senator Steve Southerland for sponsoring this resolution that promotes the growth of solar energy in the Tennessee Valley,” said Scott Banbury, Conservation Program coordinator of the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club. “We’re very pleased the Senate recognizes the valuable economic and environmental benefits the solar industry provides to Tennessee homeowners and businesses, and is now urging TVA and its local power companies to facilitate more interconnections to the grid.”
When TVA's Green Power providers program reached its capacity limit for 2013 last April, solar installers and citizens and businesses who had been working with them on plans for solar installations were left with different instructions coming from different local power companies about how to get their systems connected.
“When TVA curtailed its residential and commercial solar power programs last year, it left Tennesseans without a place to turn to for clean, affordable energy options,” said Mary Mastin, chairwoman of the Tennessee Chapter's Repower America Committee. “With solar power accelerating in neighboring states, TVA should take immediate steps to expand its existing solar programs and further develop safe, simple and uniform grid interconnection procedures that are called for in this resolution. It’s time for TVA to ensure year-round access to solar power for all Tennesseans.”
A copy of the resolution can be found at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/108/Bill/SR0093.pdf