published Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Solar group takes applications to spend stimulus cash

Sandy Allison a partner with Alma Properties LLC stands on the roof of 436 Market St. in Chattanooga on Tuesday with a solar array that received federal government funding.
Sandy Allison a partner with Alma Properties LLC stands on the roof of 436 Market St. in Chattanooga on Tuesday with a solar array that received federal government funding.
Photo by Alex Washburn.

• What: $1.15 million solar instillation grants

• Program: The University of Tennessee’s Tennessee Solar Institute

• How it’s green: The TSI’s program will allow companies all over Tennessee to apply for grants allowing them to install solar arrays on their roofs. These arrays will allow them to power their business in a sustainable way.

• Why do it this way? Using solar power, businesses will create a new revenue stream. The power produced by arrays is fed back into the Tennessee power grid and is purchased by EPB (with TVA support) at a rate of around 21 cents per kilowatt-hour. The producing company then buys back power from EPB at a standard rate of around 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

• What’s the cost? Solar arrays cost about $5 per watt production capability. Smaller arrays are capable of producing about 10,000 watts, costing about $50,000. The largest arrays funded by the grant will be 60,000 watts.

• How to be a part of the green initiative: The TSI will start accepting applications from businesses, nonprofit groups and agricultural operations Monday. The institute hopes to have applications selected by mid-September and projects completed by the end of the year.

• Past success of the program: This grant application period is the second round of the federal stimulus-funded project. The first round brought $9 million to the state and was used to fund 125 projects, including 11 in the Chattanooga area. The TSI hopes to fund between 30 and 40 smaller projects this time around.

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NoMyth said...

Cool technology, but highly subsidized with taxpayer dollars. I also wonder how much money the State of Tennessee spends on the bureaucracy required to implement this grant program. The reporter should report those figures as well.

August 13, 2011 at 1:54 p.m.
Echo said...

A bunch of B.S. waste of money. Give money to big corporations to invest in a technology that is 14% efficient.

Q. Why haven't the utilities or private hedge funds been willing to invest in this?

A. It has a negative return on investment.

Solar only is feasible when some government mandates it. Is it green? No. The chemicals needed to produce photo-voltaic panels include mass quantities of chlorine, and have a negative impact on the environment as do batteries needed to store the energy.

I want to punch a tree hugger in the face when I read about how solar is supposed to solve solve our energy problems. It screams that you've never looked at the investment and the energy generated and been able to make an informed choice. I want my tax money back. Fix our crappy schools and teach math and science and how to use a spreadsheet so people think with a business plan and not feel good, emotional, knee jerk reactionary, green energy bull crap propaganda with no critical thinking to back it up. You want to sav the planet from your CO2 myth? Passively heat your hot water on your roof or shut off your TV or buy a programmable thermostat and you'll be doing your planet and your local utility a bigger favor than a solar array.

August 13, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
rolando said...

Wow. Good punches, Echo.

I feel the same way about the useless government spending and then crying for ever more taxes.

I notice no mention was made in the article as to where these voltaic cells will be made, where the raw materials originate, or anything else. The company evidently just assembles the panels [using illegal alien labor??] from components made elsewhere. Where is "elsewhere"? China, maybe? More money flowing to China or whomsoever...yeah, right. Good stimulus...for them.

August 13, 2011 at 8:47 p.m.
riverstronghold said...

One could hope the new $1 billion plant in Bradley County might be the source.

August 16, 2011 at 10:34 a.m.
riverstronghold said...

A link to the site of the program or a contact name etc. would be more helpful than a link to some educational loan site ("application") where an advertiser has a link.

August 16, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
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