published Friday, September 6th, 2013

TVA called on to expand solar energy program

  • photo
    Christian Kipker and Vicky Alt stand in the rain under their solar panel at their Cohutta, Ga., home in this file photo. As part of the TVA generation partners program they put power back into the TVA grid for 20 days, giving them a monetary credit on their electric bill.
    Photo by Staff Photo by Margaret Fenton

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Energy firms and conservation groups are calling on the Tennessee Valley Authority to expand its small-scale solar energy program.

The federal utility launched the program about 10 years ago to boost the solar industry in Tennessee. It allows generators of solar power to connect to the electrical grid and sell back the power they produce at a higher-than-market rate.

The Tennessean reports that energy firms and conservation groups now say the program has begun to stifle the solar industry because TVA caps the amount of power it will buy at a rate that is well below the demand.

TVA says the cap is necessary to keep energy costs down for customers.

The utility provides power to about 9 million people in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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