Welcome to the third Solar Installer newsletter for solar installers interested in TVA's renewable energy programs and updates.

Reflect on Safety this Holiday Season

Happy holidays from TVA renewable programs staff! We are excited to share with you the third Solar Installer Newsletter by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Your continued interest in TVA’s renewable energy programs contributes to the success of solar in the Valley.
You were included on the distribution of this newsletter either upon your request to be listed as a NABCEP installer on the TVA Green Power Providers (GPP) program website, or by your request to receive the newsletter. We hope you find it useful and enlightening. 
As we gear up to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, we can sometimes get caught up in the hustle and bustle - and we want to remind you to be safe. Safety is not just a gift we give ourselves, but a gift we give to co-workers, family, and friends, so please take a moment to remind those that you work with or loved ones to be safe this holiday season.  
Susan Curtis
Manager, End Use Generation, TVA Renewable Energy Programs

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Renewable Energy Programs Expanded in Calendar Year 2014
New Application Process for Green Power Providers
Program Updates

Safety Minute from TVA’s Ashley Dickens
GPS Buffalo Mountain Wind Turbine Tours
TVA's Integrated Resource Plan Underway
Featured Solar Installation - ACE, LLC Solar
Spotlight on Desirae Smith, Green Power Switch Intern
Installer Information and Feedback Survey


Upcoming Events
Generation Partners 10 Year Extension Agreement Deadline  December 31, 2013
Capacity Opens for Green Power Providers January 15, 2014 - February 17, 2014
Application Deadline for NABCEP Certification Exams  January 24, 2014
NABCEP Certifications Exam Date  April 12, 2014

Renewable Energy Programs Expanded in
Calendar Year 2014
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is taking steps with the goal of increasing TVA's renewable energy capacity in 2014, while ensuring that TVA's green power programs remain sustainable and cost effective.

In calendar year 2014, TVA will offer a total of 126 megawatts of renewable capacity through a variety of power-purchasing programs for homes, businesses and commercial installations, marking a seven percent increase over 2013.

TVA will be adding capacity and reducing pricing incentives to reflect lower technology costs for generators and to support lower electric rates for the Tennessee Valley's nine million residents.

TVA is revising its three renewable programs, particularly in response to increasingly popular solar energy, with a majority of new capacity offered at prices competitive with TVA's wholesale costs.  To see a comparison between 2013 and 2014, see the chart below.

Program Improvements at a Glance:

Renewable Standard Offer
TVA is removing the 50 percent technology limit for RSO which will increase the opportunity for solar capacity by 87 percent compared to 2013. All 100 megawatts of available capacity will be allowed for any of the qualified technologies, including wind, solar and biomass projects. TVA will continue to purchase output at prices competitive with the market.

Solar Solution Initiative
Capacity also is being increased for mid-size solar projects by 60 percent in the Solar Solutions Initiative program, which focuses on installations from 50 kilowatts to 1 megawatt in size, and encourages use of local installers to support local economies.

TVA will offer 16 megawatts of SSI capacity in 2014, up from 10 megawatts in 2013. TVA also will extend the program, originally a two-year pilot program, for two more years to 2015.

Green Power Providers

In calendar year 2013, TVA approved about two megawatts of residential capacity through the Green Power Providers program. In calendar year 2014, TVA is doubling the amount of residential capacity offered by reserving four megawatts, or 40 percent, of the ten megawatt capacity limit for residential customers.


New Application Process for Green Power Providers starts January 15

 Each year, TVA strives to make improvements to its programs and processes based upon feedback and best practices. As a solution to the overwhelming demand for the Green Power Providers program, in calendar year 2014, we will be implementing a new random selection process for applicants if capacity is oversubscribed.  

TVA will begin accepting a new Capacity Reservation Request (CRR) form from participating local power companies during an "open capacity request period" of January 15, 2014 through February 17, 2014. That said, please note that participation agreements will not be accepted January 1, 2014.

This CRR is a one page form that will need to be completed and signed by the customer and submitted to TVA by the local power company. During the open capacity request period, all CRRs will be tracked and logged by TVA. TVA will also select a waitlist that is up to 30 percent of the capacity.  If fewer requests are received than capacity available, TVA will extend the reservation period and review and approve CRRs until capacity is fully subscribed. To see the process in detail, go to

 Program Updates
Through innovative renewable energy programs like Green Power Providers, Renewable Standard Offer, and Solar Solutions Initiative, solar power continues to spread across the Tennessee Valley!

TVA currently has 128 megawatts of operating or committed solar projects under contract at more than 2,000 locations across the region. TVA's renewable portfolio also includes 1,500 megawatts from wind and 60 megawatts from biomass.

"Demand for our renewables programs is strong," said Patty West, director of TVA's Renewable Energy Programs. "We are working with our local power companies to direct capacity to the most cost-effective programs and streamlining the processes for these programs to make it easier for participants."

Green Power Providers 

Green Power Providers (GPP) is a long-term, sustainable renewable energy program that offers consumers, businesses and industries across the Tennessee Valley the option to build renewable generation with project sizes up to 50 kW. Along with its pilot program, Generation Partners, GPP has 86.13 MW in operating and approved capacity through November 2013. 

Renewable Standard Offer
TVA offered 100 MW of renewable capacity under Renewable Standard Offer (RSO) in 2013, for installations greater than 50 kW and less than or equal to 20 MW. Overall, RSO currently has 149.14 MW in operating or approved capacity. For more information on RSO for 2014, please visit the  Renewable Standard Offer page on TVA's website. 

Solar Solutions Initiative
Renewable Standard Offer projects may qualify for SSI if they are between 50 and 1,000 kW and meet certain requirements. TVA has offered 20 MW over the past two years and is offering more capacity for 2014. Currently, there is about 18 MW of capacity in either operating or approved status. For more information on SSI, please go to the Solar Solutions Initiative page on TVA's website.


Safety Minute from TVA's Ashley Dickens - Creating a Safe Working Environment in the Office

In our line of business, it's easy to see the daily dangers that naturally come with working around electricity. The place that is often overlooked as potentially harmful but can affect all of us to some degree is the office environment. We all spend at least some time in an office, and we don't need our guard to fall simply because we are sitting in front of a computer screen at the moment rather than dealing with live wires. Potential hazards that we should all remain aware of are numerous. Here is a short list of a few situations to be on the lookout for:
  • Climbing - ensure you are using an appropriate step stool or ladder when a situation calls for climbing.
  • Electrical defects - don't forget to check for defects in cords or machines and quickly report these to the appropriate personnel.
  • Always utilize handrails when going up or down stairs.  It may seem like common sense, but we often get in a rush and spend a lot of time in our heads rather than in the moment!
  • Do not store materials in a place where they might fall or cause injury.
  • Open doors slowly - I know I have nearly ran into quite a few coworkers coming out of or going into the restroom with gusto!
  • Serious strains can occur from the improper lifting of boxes, portable filing cases, office machines, and office supplies.  When you lift something that is bulky or heavy, remember to do so with your back erect in order to use the more powerful leg muscles.
Safety is everyone's responsibility. Being aware of your surroundings sounds so simple, yet we all have to make a conscious effort to live in the moment and work to train ourselves to look for unsafe situations that could be lurking around any corner, even in the office environment!
GPS Buffalo Mountain Wind Turbine Tours

TVA's Green Power Switch staff celebrated the changing of seasons in style with a two-day tour event at the Buffalo Mountain Wind Farm above Oliver Springs, Tenn.  Nearly 90 individuals attended the tour, including representatives from 11 local power companies and 5 local businesses and institutions.  Five of Tennessee's local elected officials also attended, including: the Anderson County and Kingston mayors, the Morgan County executive, as well as a Tennessee state representative.

Green Power Switch staff decided to share this incredible view for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted to share the very real success the program has seen over the past 13 years. Growing from 2,000 customers at the end of the first year to nearly 12,000 today, the program stands as one of TVA's most sustained programs. Sales in 2012 reached a new high of over 120,000 megawatt-hours of locally generated renewable energy, including energy produced from the wind turbines located on Buffalo Mountain. 

Second, the impressive view of 18 massive wind turbines along a ridge lined with gold, red and yellow leaves also provided attendees with lasting images of a more tangible concept of the renewable energy that is supported by Green Power Switch customers. Since renewable energy itself can't be seen, the program can be difficult to explain to people. Seeing the wind turbines in action provides a vivid memory, which can be passed on from the visitor to their customers or friends back home.

Green Power Switch, the first program of its kind in the Southeast, gives consumers a simple way to directly support the region's renewable resources. The program is certified by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions' Green-e Energy program as meeting strict environmental and consumer protection standards. Green-e Energy provides information and an objective standard for consumers to compare renewable energy options, and to verify that consumers get what they pay for. More information on Green-e certification requirements can be found at 1-888-63-GREEN or To sign up or learn more about Green Power Switch visit

TVA's Integrated Resource Plan Underway
As you may have read, TVA is currently updating its 2011 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is expected to wrap up in 2015. So what is an IRP and why is it important to TVA's energy future? An IRP is essentially an "energy roadmap" for the future. It will provide TVA with a long-term startegy for meeting the region's power demands while allowing flexibility to adapt during uncertain or changing conditions.  Additionally, it helps TVA ensure that the generation decisions made result in the lowest possible cost for power while maintaining high reliability to a high standard for all rate payers.  The updated IRP will include many of the same elements of the 2011 IRP, including stakeholder feedback, public comments, assessing different strategies against future possiblities, and scenario analysis. To learn more on this topic, please
click here or go to to see a video of Joe Hoagland, TVA's Vice President of Stakehold Relations, explaining what an IRP is, why TVA is updating its IRP, and more.

Until the 2015 IRP is complete, the 2011 IRP will provide the framework for the future.  The following chart reflects the position of Renewables in relation to the goal under its 2011 Integrated Resource Plan, which recommends TVA add 1,500-2,500 megawatts of cost effective renewable capacity by 2020.  As you can see, TVA is well positioned within this range at 1,615 megawatts.


Featured Solar Installation:
ACE, LLC Solar and Apel Steel

*This article was submitted by Chuck Boggs

In June 2013, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate a new 50 kW solar system installed at Apel Steel in Cullman, AL. The solar arrays were installed by ACE, LLC Solar, who partnered with Cullman Electric Cooperative and TVA to provide a great opportunity for Apel Steel to participate in one of TVA's green power programs. Apel Steel is excited about the immediate and long-term energy savings benefits.i

Spotlight on Desirae Smith, Green Power Switch Intern

Desirae Smith is an intern with Green Power Switch.  She has lived in the Tennessee Valley all her life and is happy to have a position as intern, supporting the Green Power Switch program. She is currently a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship. Desirae will graduate in December 2013. Congratulations, Desirae!


 Installer Information and Feedback Survey

For GPP projects approved by TVA on or after January 1, 2014, individuals must achieve a minimum of entry-level NABCEP achievement to install solar systems. 

TVA publishes a list of both NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installers and individuals who have passed the Entry Level exam in AL, GA, KY, MS, NC, TN, and VA.  Information is voluntarily given by individuals.  If you would like to add an entry, please email

Please share your feedback about this newsletter by filling out this survey.

Julie Maupin
TVA Renewables Analyst

i(2013, July 21). Apel Steel-ACE,LLC Solar holds ribbon cutting. Cullman Times, pp. 16A

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