Solar group takes applications to spend stimulus cash

Solar group takes applications to spend stimulus cash

August 13th, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

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/Times Free Press.

• 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.