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Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
October 11, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Two organizations align with recent state study on solar energy

The study was completed by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in response to concerns related to utility-scale solar facilities and the residential solar market.

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) has released a report addressing concerns related to utility-scale solar facilities and the residential solar market, sparking active engagement from principal stakeholders across the state. Specifically, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) and Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) continue to champion the economic benefits of solar energy in the region following the release of the report.

The TACIR report was initiated by the state due to community concerns about the expansion of large-scale solar facilities and potential consumer protection issues in the home solar market. It underscores the necessity for clearer guidelines and resources for local governments, developers, and the public. It also highlights how Tennessee is embracing solar energy, with ambitious plans to significantly increase solar generation capacity in the coming years.

For example, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) plans to add 10,000 MW of solar generation by 2035 in its territory, including 5,000 MW of carbon-free energy before 2029. Nashville Electric Service (NES) is looking at opportunities for utility-scale solar outside Davidson County through TVA, while Knoxville Utility Board (KUB) has a 20 percent renewable goal because their customers want more renewables, according to the report. Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) is another example of a local power company that has developed several programs to assist its customers in deploying solar energy

“Both large and small businesses are now viewing solar and clean energy as a requirement when looking to locate or expand in Tennessee,” says Cortney Piper, Executive Director of TAEBC. “To capture all the economic opportunity the advanced energy sector has to offer, we must work towards making solar more accessible and educating public policy makers about its economic and community development benefits.”

Partnerships, community buy-in, and suitable solar project placements are key to maximizing solar energy’s economic impact, according to Piper, something that the TACIR findings further reinforced.

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