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Tennessee Businesses Respond Quickly to $9 Million Solar Installation Grant Program

September 27, 2010

Businesses Confirm Demand for Renewable Energy Alternatives

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI) today announced it has fully committed more than $9 million in Solar Installation grants to Tennessee businesses. Through this program, 108 projects, valued at more than $33 million, have been approved for new solar photovoltaic installations across the state. These installations will produce an estimated 5.8 megawatts of additional solar conversion, increasing Tennessee’s total solar usage from 2.5 megawatts to over 8 megawatts.

“The Solar Installation grants are an important tool in the expansion of Tennessee's renewable energy portfolio and will help Tennessee businesses be more productive and competitive,” said Matt Kisber, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “Under the leadership of Governor Phil Bredesen, Tennessee has charted a new course towards sustainability and economic development in the solar industry. The strong demand for the Solar Installation grants is further proof the state’s solar-related policies and initiatives are needed and proving successful.”

In the current environment, businesses are looking at cost reduction as a key business strategy, which may be one reason why more industries are looking to solar conversion. The Solar Installation Grant Program was made available to Tennessee businesses to assist in the purchase and installation of small-scale photovoltaic solar systems on or adjacent to existing non-residential buildings or structures. The goal of this program was to make solar conversion more affordable and boost solar capacity for commercial businesses in Tennessee.

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in the advancement of Tennessee’s position as a leader in solar innovation,” said David Millhorn, executive vice president, University of Tennessee. “The industry’s response to this grant opportunity confirms a statewide demand for renewable energy alternatives. Efforts from this and other forward thinking programs will not only strengthen the solar industry but also stimulate economic growth and create jobs in Tennessee.”

Seizing the opportunity to reduce long-term energy costs, businesses responded quickly to the Solar Installation Grant Program. A total of 190 applications were submitted since TSI began accepting applications on June 21, 2010. Grant awards range from $14,400 to $245,000 and span across the state. Awards were committed to eligible companies and farming operations on a first come, first served basis and may receive up to $245,000 in reimbursement funds for each application based on project size. Businesses were eligible to submit up to five applications for separate projects.

Due to the success of the program, Tennessee Solar Institute received qualified applications that exceeded the $9 million in grant funds available. While the program is fully subscribed and no longer accepting applications for Solar Installation grants, TSI will retain all remaining qualified applications should a grantee elect not to proceed with a project or fail to meet grant program guidelines.

The Solar Installation Grant Program is part of Governor Phil Bredesen’s Volunteer State Solar Initiative, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Tennessee Solar Institute is part of the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, a comprehensive solar energy and economic development program focusing on job creation, education, renewable power production and technology commercialization. This initiative has been established using $62.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding received by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

About Tennessee Solar Institute

Tennessee Solar Institute is a center of excellence between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory that brings together scientists, engineers and technical experts with business leaders and policymakers to help speed the deployment of solar photovoltaic technology. Its mission is to advance the understanding of solar innovation and to inspire new ideas that speed the deployment and implementation of solar-based technology in Tennessee. Tennessee Solar Institute is housed on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

For more information, visit http://solar.tennessee.edu.

Click here to view the list of grantees.

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Contacts:
Gina Stafford, 865-974-0741, stafford@tennessee.edu
Elizabeth Davis, 865-974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu