The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) chose to ignore calls from the solar industry to give its Green Power Providers (GPP) program a much needed improvement. The net-metering program allows homeowners, businesses, municipalities, and other property owners to go solar and get compensated for it, but the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and others contended that TVA has made the program too limiting.
“We worked in good faith to collaborate with TVA staff with the goal of introducing tangible program improvements. Despite our reasonable proposal, TVA has elected to reject industry stakeholder recommendations that we based on the realities of the marketplace,” said TenneSEIA President Matt Beasley. “We are concerned that this decision indicates a genuine lack of commitment by TVA to its own program.”
TennSEIA pushed for TVA to increase the size limits it’s put on the GPP and expand the program. It contended that the program is seeing less subscribers because TVA began capping participation levels in 2012 and since reduced the amount it compensates to GPP subscribers.
It’s not the first time Tennessee has been called out for failing to support solar and distributed solar in particular. Last year in The Center of Biologic Diversity’s “Throwing Shade: 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development,” it named Tennessee as one of the states that’s blocking progress on solar energy, giving it an F grade for its solar policies.
TennSEIA filed a formal request to expand the program, increasing the size limit for systems from 50 kilowatts to 200 kilowatts. It and local industry representatives met with TVA numerous times. The intent of this proposal is to realize greater participation in the program without any increase to the program’s overall budget that was approved by the TVA Board in 2016. The organization said the increase wouldn’t impact on TVA’s budget, but would allow for larger system sizes under the program’s existing 10MW cap, which small businesses had asked for.
“Larger systems allow businesses to realize better economies of scale with their solar investments and make a bigger impact on their electric bills,” added TenneSEIA Vice President Steve Johnson.
“TVA has not seen its Green Power Providers program fully subscribed since 2015,” Johnson said. “If it truly wants a more successful program, with no increase to the program’s budget, then allowing larger systems within the existing capacity should have been an easy choice that benefits everyone,” says Johnson. “The fact that TVA rejected this reasonable proposal has to question how committed TVA is to offering this program for its customers.”Tweet