TVA increases commitment to renewable energy with solar dedications

Source: Tennessee Valley Authority

Two new solar-powered sites in Huntsville, Ala., and Dyer, Tenn., will generate clean, renewable electricity beginning in early December as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Green Power Switch program.

Officials from TVA, Huntsville Utilities and site host Huntsville Botanical Garden dedicated a 23-kilowatt installation on Monday at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. The site can generate approximately 30,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

Another Green Power Switch solar site, with a capacity of 19.7-kilowatts, will be dedicated Thursday, Dec. 8, at Gibson County High School in Dyer, Tenn., during a ceremony featuring officials from TVA, Gibson Electric Membership Corp. and Gibson County Special School District. The Gibson County site can generate approximately 24,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

The average household in the TVA service area uses about 14,000 kilowatthours per year. Though these new solar sites will produce only enough electricity for a few homes, they will be valuable educational and demonstration tools for the public.

Together, the two new solar sites will add nearly 43 kilowatts of clean solar capacity to the Green Power Switch program, adding to the strong growth of renewable energy in the Tennessee Valley. Green Power Switch is TVA's popular program that lets residents and businesses purchase blocks of green power from their local power company. 

"In the 10 years since TVA became the first utility in the Southeast to offer consumers clean electricity through Green Power Switch, we've seen a renewable energy renaissance take root in the Tennessee Valley," said John Trawick, TVA senior vice president for Commercial Operations and Pricing. "Green Power Switch continues to attract new consumers, and these new solar sites will support their commitment to renewable energy."

With the newly dedicated solar sites, TVA's Green Power Switch program now has 16 TVA-owned solar generation sites throughout the Tennessee Valley with a total combined capacity of 418.5 kilowatts. Together the new sites will be capable of generating about 54,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Since Green Power Switch began in 2000, consumers have received more than 600,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy. Today, the Green Power Switch program counts nearly 11,000 participants served by 116 local power companies.

As of July 2011, TVA has entered into contracts for more than 1,300 megawatts of non-hydro renewable capacity from sources like solar, wind and methane gas, with plans for more under development. As part of its vision to become one of the leading providers of low-cost, cleaner energy by 2020, TVA also is working with its distributor partners to promote greater energy efficiency.

"We know that renewables and energy efficiency alone won't be able to power the future of the Tennessee Valley," Trawick said. "But these new solar sites demonstrate that clean and renewable energy sources are an important and growing part of our energy mix that will continue to expand as we work to achieve TVA's vision for a cleaner energy future."'

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