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Nashville near back of the nationwide pack when it comes to solar energy

Posted at 9:57 PM, May 12, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With how fast this area is growing, Nashville tops the list in a lot of nationwide rankings.

But a new report from Environment America said when it comes to solar power — something that's all the rage in other cities — Nashville is near the back of the pack: 64th out of 67 major U.S. cities when it comes to solar capacity per capita.

Jacob Palmer with JTE Solar Energy in Nashville said he thinks he knows at least one reason why that's the case.

"We have the ability to install solar, but we don't have the ability for the buyback that most places do," Palmer said.

Palmer said the Tennessee Valley Authority previously had in place a benefit called the Green Power Providers program, which paid homeowners what Jacob said were good rates when they sold unused solar energy back to the power company.

"They would pay you per kilowatt pretty much matching what you pay," Palmer said.

But the TVA voted to end that program for new applicants at the start of 2020.

Palmer said that's when the incentive dimmed for many Tennessee homeowners to consider solar.

The TVA said it ended the program based on research, and updated it to Green Connect, a program for solar installations that connects homeowners with installers in their area who agree to install systems to TVA Green Connect program standards and are approved by TVA and their local power company.

Palmer says homeowners can still take advantage of the sun for their own homes, by installing batteries that can store the energy the solar panels collect and then use it after the sun goes down.

"There are a lot of people who are just green-minded to begin with," Palmer said.