Chattanooga, TN (February 17, 2016) – EPB has started construction on Solar Share, Chattanooga’s first community solar installation through a partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The renewable power generating facility will be located along Holtzclaw Avenue at EPB’s Distribution Center. By summer, Solar Share is expected to begin generating 1.35 megawatts of solar power, which is enough to meet the needs of about 200 households that consume an average amount of power.
“EPB is proud to establish Solar Share as a lasting community asset, which will generate renewable energy for years to come,” said EPB Board of Directors Chairman Joe Ferguson.
According to David Wade, president and CEO of EPB, Solar Share was designed to lower the barriers to entry for customers interested in solar power. “Community solar is like joining a community pool rather than excavating your yard and installing a pool on your own property,” Wade said. “The benefits are enjoyed by many more people, who don’t have to worry about maintenance, liability and other hassles. Participating in Solar Share is a great option for people who live in apartments and other situations where solar panel installation is not feasible.”
“TVA is committed to providing renewable energy in a way that maximizes the benefits to the communities we serve,” said Cindy Herron, Vice President for Energy Right Solutions and Renewables. “Working with EPB to bring Solar Share to Chattanooga is a great example of what can happen when communities and utilities come together for a common goal – a cleaner future.”
Through Solar Share, customers will be able to participate in the community solar project in three ways:
- For a one-time payment, customers may buy a 20-year license that entitles them to a monthly bill credit equal to the generation value of one or more panels. The amount of power generated by the number of panels selected by a customer will be credited to the customer’s electric account on a monthly basis. This option is designed to provide the generation benefits of installing solar panels on your roof, but without the construction project.
- Customers may also buy a license by making a monthly payment that entitles them to a monthly bill credit equal to the generation value of the number of solar panels selected by a customer. As with the first option, the amount of power generated will be credited to their electric bill on a monthly basis. This option is designed to provide the generation benefits of leasing solar generation. It creates a low-cost path for participating in Solar Share without making a long-term commitment.
- In addition, customers may purchase “Renewable Energy Credits” which will allow them to offset the environmental impact of activities like cooling their home, commuting to work or hosting a wedding.
EPB is finalizing the details for each of these three options including pricing. Complete information will be available when Solar Share begins operation this summer and customers can begin participating.
"Through partnerships that create forward-thinking initiatives like our city's first community solar installation, we can clearly see the power of our Innovation District," said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. "As cornerstones of our Innovation District, EPB and TVA understand the importance of employing creativity, innovation, and next-generation technology to solve problems and improve the lives of our citizens. Solar Share is a perfect example of those values in action."
“I envision EPB’s Solar Share project as another way to inspire students in Hamilton County schools to pursue the STEM fields for solving the challenges that we face today and tomorrow,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “Our future depends on world-class energy solutions and a local workforce that is empowered to meet the challenges of our innovation economy.”
After a competitive bidding process, EPB selected TVAEnergy LLC - Tennessee Valley Alternative Energy - as its partner to construct Solar Share.
“We are excited about the opportunity we have to share our experience and technical expertise to help define Chattanooga’s future,” said Carlos Mayer, Member Manager of TVAE.
People who are interested in learning more about Solar Share are invited to go to www.epb.com/solarshare to sign up for updates including the initial invitation to be among the first to participate in Chattanooga’s first community solar project.
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 more than 170,000 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.