For years, TVA’s “Green Power Providers” has been their only program that pays community members for the solar energy they contribute to the grid. After capping program enrollment and cutting benefits year after year, TVA is now saying they will only offer an incredibly low payment to home energy producers! If you want access to solar at your home or business and a fair payment for the energy you produce, tell TVA why by commenting on their Environmental Assessment below!
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has offered the Green Power Providers Program as an alternative to “net metering” (which allows you to directly offset your electricity usage by the amount of solar your generate at your home or business). Through the program, TVA has provided long-term contracts to end-users that installed on-site renewable energy systems and has paid a premium, fixed price (most recently, 9 cents per kilowatt-hour) for the electricity generated. TVA capped total participation/generation in the program to 10 megawatts per year, and over time reduced the price that was paid to participants in the program.
TVA is proposing to eliminate the existing program beginning in January 2020, and will not replace it with a similar offering. Instead, TVA is only proposing to pay any system that wants to interconnect to their grid what TVA considers its “avoided cost” of 1.76 cents/kWh. This amount is far less than the most recent 9 cents/kWh payment under the GPP program, is not nearly enough to make distributed renewable energy investments cost-effective for homes and businesses that want to go solar, and it does not reflect the true value of solar for TVA’s grid or the environment.
One reason TVA is justifying doing this is because the existing program is “underutilized” and is “not attractive to customers.” However, their own surveys show just the opposite.
Helpful Talking Points
If you think TVA should be doing more to help community members go solar, instead of making it more difficult, use the form below to submit comments on their proposed replacement of the Green Power Providers program and ask them to make it better and more accessible to all residents and businesses. Some helpful talking points are provided here:
- Everyone should have the option to own and install their own renewable energy systems, and be paid by TVA for the full value of the energy they produce.
- At a time when the price for customer-sited solar and other renewables is dropping, TVA should be expanding the Green Power Providers program and making it better, rather than eliminating it.
- In order to minimize the negative effects of global climate change, both utility-scale and distributed, customer-owned solar are needed to decarbonize the electric grid as fast as possible.
- TVA’s own “market research” shows that there is a strong preference for customer-owned solar, but that TVA has done a poor job of marketing and educating customers about the program.
- TVA should not only keep the Green Power Providers program, but should make the process for signing up more simple and streamlined, and should provide low-interest financing options to help customers afford the upfront cost.
- TVA should also expand the program to allow low-income household and renters to afford or otherwise access the benefits of small-scale renewable energy systems, including through no-cost, debt-free on-bill finance programs, low-income community solar offerings, multi-family housing solar programs, and/or cost-subsidies that are sufficient for enhancing affordability for those customers.