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Chattanooga, TN (September 18, 2015) EPB is partnering with the Tennessee Valley Authority to launch Solar Share, a pilot program to construct 1.35 Megawatts of community-based solar power generation capacity. This groundbreaking initiative will be EPB’s first power generation project.
“Our community is already benefiting from having the most advanced Smart Grid in the United States,” said EPB president and CEO Harold DePriest. “Thanks to our partnership with TVA, Solar Share will give our area the opportunity to benefit from a community-based, renewable source of energy.”
According to Neil Placer, TVA Renewable Energy Solutions senior manager, his team has been working with EPB to structure Solar Share in a way that engages the community. “With EPB, we’ve developed an innovative approach to community solar generation that gives local people multiple ways to participate,” Placer said. “The future is bright for solar energy, and TVA is proud of its partnership with EPB.”
Because community solar projects like Solar Share operate as a shared resource they are more cost effective than home-based deployments. Community solar projects also negate many of the financial and physical barriers individual homeowners may face such as upfront costs, rooftop areas unsuitable for solar panels, shading from trees, etc.
“Solar Share is like the mass transit of solar power generation,” said DePriest. “Just as taking the bus to work is more environmentally sustainable, community solar power generation provides tremendous benefit.”
When complete the project is expected to generate enough power to meet the needs of approximately 125 houses.
EPB is working to finalize the details for how customers can opt-into Solar Share. If the project draws enough community participation, the initial deployment could be the first of many community-based solar deployments. Those who are interested in learning more are invited to call EPB at (423) 648-1372 to be added to the contact list for future updates.
Established as an independent board of the City of Chattanooga in 1935, EPB is a municipally-owned utility that provides electric power and fiber optic communications services as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life across the local area.
EPB serves nearly 180,000 homes and businesses in a 600 square-mile area that includes greater Chattanooga, as well as parts of surrounding counties and areas of North Georgia.
In 2010, EPB became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network that provides access to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first (and to date) only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.
EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.