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Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Solar Panels in Tennessee

This page is a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on your Tennessee home. Since there's a lot to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

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** What's new for 2020 **

TVA’s Green Power Providers program now fully dead. If you want to install solar panels on your home in TN, expect very little in the way of recompense from the utility.

Should you despair and throw your hand up in the air? No! We recommend FIGHTING! Demand that the state legislature and the TVA board reinstate net metering and guarantee the right of all Tennesseans to interconnect and use or sell their electricity as they see fit.

What you'll find on this page:

The Solar Strategy section is focused on the 3 ways of paying for solar in Tennessee, so you can decide which is best for you. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we provide detailed analysis of how each works.

The Policy Information section contains all our latest research on the rules set by lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission, which determine how easy it is to go solar in Tennessee. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to interconnection, and have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions for going solar in Tennessee.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Generate an accurate online solar estimate for your home

Your Solar Strategy in Tennessee

Figuring out the best way to go solar in Tennessee can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

How should you pay for solar?

Use our decision tool to find out!

How to pay for solar panels in Tennessee

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan. As you can see, Tennessee has the potential for some financial returns. The purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but look a little closer. Taking a loan (the orange bars) and paying for the system over time means you'll come out ahead in the first year and pay off most of your system using electric bill savings.

That's what makes the solar loan option better. If you take a HELOC, you'll pay the system cost down monthly, but you still get a huge tax credit after the first year. Your payments over 15 years will be offset by the savings your panels generate, and when the loan's paid off, you get 10 years of energy for free. All you need is great credit—or the equity for a HELOC.

Read more below about each of the options for solar in Tennessee!

How much can solar panels on roof save you?

Option 1: Paying cash for solar

An outright purchase used to be the only way to get solar, and it's still the option that provides the 'biggest' financial returns. The reason we put 'biggest' in quotes here is because it's technically true. You'll see a net return of almost $17,200 in 25 years if you pay up front. But it requires a significant up-front investment.

If you have equity in your home or good credit, you can get a solar loan or HELOC with an interest rate of 4% or less. It's like being able to start a business that is sure to succeed, just by having a roof. Read about loans below.

If you've got cash and you prefer to pay up front, you'll have to plunk down $19,530. But by the end of year 1, incentives and energy savings will erase a bunch of it. Over 25 years, your system will have produced about $17,200 in income. Solar offsets enough your energy bill to save you about $874 in year 1, and it just goes up from there. As the electric company raises rates, you save more and more, and more...

Here’s how the numbers pencil out when you pay up front for a 6.2-kW rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 6.2-kW solar system should start at about $19,530. That's cheaper than solar has ever been, but it still might seem like a big investment. Don’t worry, because after tax breaks and energy savings, your first-year costs will be considerably less than that.
  • The Feds calculate their incentive based on actual out of pocket costs, so take 26% of $19,530, for a tax credit of $5,078. Your total investment is now down to just $14,452.
  • After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be $874. That reduces your cost after the first year to only $13578.
  • Your system will pay for itself in just 6 years, and over its 25-year life, you'll see a total net profit of $17,250. The internal rate of return for this investment is a stupendous 6.9%!
  • And don't forget... your home's value just increased by around $10,900, too (your expected cost after solar incentives)!
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil fuels. It's like planting 159 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Tennessee. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 2: Using a loan to pay for solar

You don't need $20,000 sitting around to pay for solar. As long as you have equity in your home, you can still own solar panels and reap all the benefits. Heck, even if you do have the cash, getting a loan to pay for solar is by far the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment.

That’s because, in Tennessee, using a loan to pay for solar is like investing in a business that's sure to succeed, and also earns you a tax break. Your tax savings will be huge in the first year, which helps right away. Over the repayment period of the loan, your cost will be a little grater than the energy savings your system provides, but that's all an investment in the future. After the loan's paid off, your savings over the next 10 years will produce an estimated $9,887 in net income by 2044. Yes, we said income!

A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can qualify for a solar loan or home-equity line of credit (HELOC) for $19,530, with a fixed rate of 4% or lower and a 15-year repayment period. Don't be put off if you're offered a higher rate. It just means a tiny bit less of the thousands of dollars you'll make with solar.
  • You love making money without much risk.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a Tennessee solar purchase with a loan:

  • Installing a typical 6.2-kW solar system should start at about $19,530. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $874, but your annual loan payments will be $1,793, meaning you would spend $919 on solar this year, but...
  • You'll also see a huge tax break. The Feds give you 26% of the cost of your system back as a tax credit, which in this case is $5,078. You'll be paying over time but getting all the benefits up front!
  • The electricity savings will continue for 25 years, while your loan payments will last only 15. By the end of the 25-year life of your panels, you'll come out $9,887 ahead.
  • On top of the green that will stay in your pocket, your system will mean green for the environment, too. 159 trees-worth, every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Tennessee. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 3: Buying the electricity, not the panels with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Tennessee does not offer solar Power Purchase Agreements or leases. Perhaps it would be a good idea to contact a solar advocacy organization and ask them to fight for solar in your state!

Calculate solar panel cost and savings for your specific home

Tennessee Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in Tennessee:

Tennessee's Renewable Portfolio Standard


Grade: F

Tennessee's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) is a statute or other piece of regulation that mandates that a portion of at state’s electricity is produced from renewable resources (like solar power) by a certain date. If you have been following renewable energy policy at all, you already know that a whole lot of states have passed strong a strong RPS. Many of the RPS’s mandate goals as high as 30%, even 40% renewable production in the next 10-15 years.

So what’s going on in Tennessee? Well, not much. Nothing in fact. Tennessee has absolutely no renewables portfolio, no targets – nothing. Tennessee needs to get on track; Colorado, California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and many other states that have already passed strong RPS’s to ensure a bright future for solar power and other renewable energy. Trust us, a strong RPS is integral to having that bright future here. No one wants to give you free money – least of all the electric companies. Without a strong RPS pushing them, politicians and CEOs have no incentive to give you incentives. Incentives for more solar power, that is!

Learn more about Renewable Portfolio Standards

Tennessee's Solar carve-out and SRECs


Grade: F

Tennessee's Solar Carve-out grade

No RPS means no solar carve out.

Learn more about Solar Carve-outs

Tennessee Electricity Prices


Grade: D

Tennessee's Electricity cost grade

Electricity costs about 11 cents/kWh here. Here at Solar Power Rocks, we kind of geek out on anything that affects solar power, including electric prices, so trust us when we tell you that 10.96 cents/kWh is super cheap. In the bottom tier of the county, in fact, and well below the national average of 13.14 cents/kWh. You should also trust us when we tell you that cheap electricity is a bad thing.

All that cheap electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels -- tons and tons of earth-killing fossil fuels. When the astronomical environmental costs start to mount, monthly electricity bills are inevitably going to rise as well. When that happens you’re going to feel pretty darn smart for making the early switch to producing your own clean, efficient solar power.

Find out why electricity prices matter

Tennessee Net Metering

TVA Dispersed Power Program

Grade: F

Tennessee's Net Metering grade

Sadly, Tennessee lacks any statewide program for net metering, and there hasn’t been so much of a peep out of the legislature. Fortunately, with the entire state in its service area, TVA has announced its new “Dispersed Power Program”. This is basically the same thing as net metering, however the credits you get for sending your electricity back to TVA when you’re not using it are set by TVA annually, and will probably not be near full retail rates. For clearer savings estimates, connect with an installer in Tennessee we trust.

Learn more about net metering

Tennessee Interconnection Rules


Grade: F

Tennessee's Interconnection Standards grade

Interconnection standards govern the procedures and fees that utilities may implement for getting you and your net-metered system connected to the grid.

Like the lack of net metering policy above, Tennessee also hasn't issued any clear policy for easily connecting to the grid. Both net metering and interconnection are critical parts of strong renewable energy policy. They help you get the absolute most out of your solar power production. A solid net metering plan, with interconnection standards that make it simple to get on the grid can help you zero out your entire electric bill, and even turn a profit where net metering regulations provide for cash payments. Legislators have a bit of work to do here.

Learn more about solar interconnection rules

Tennessee Solar Incentives

Next to high electricity prices and net metering, solar incentives have traditionally been the most important factor for whether home solar power makes financial sense in a state. In the past, some states with otherwise lousy policy had tremendous incentives that drove down the up-front cost of going solar so much that homeowners could save oodles of money even without net metering or a good RPS.

These days, the big incentive most people can get is the Federal Solar Tax Credit that earns you 26% of your total system costs back after just 1 year. State incentives play less of a role than in the past, but some really good ones are still out there, ready to help homeowners go solar and save money before you know it.

Let's see how Tennessee measures up:

The availability of state solar incentives for residential solar systems was sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, utility company websites, and the state public utility commission.

Tennessee Solar Power Rebates


Grade: F

Tennessee's Solar Rebates grade

Tennessee currently lacks any sort of statewide solar rebate program. If the RPS set mandatory levels of renewable energy production, we can guarantee more utility companies would offer incentives to help you make the switch to solar. How do we know? It’s worked everywhere that a real RPS has been implemented. Get on it, Tennessee!

Learn more about solar rebates

Tennessee Solar Tax Credits


Grade: C

Tennessee's Solar Tax Credits grade

Many states like to offer state tax credits as a way to promote the local solar industry. It’s true, Tennessee does not offer any state tax credits, but in a state that has no state income tax, tax credits wouldn't be much of a help anyways.

Learn more about state solar tax credits

Property Tax Exemption

2/3 of Assessed Value

Grade: C

Tennessee's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

What Tennessee doesn't have, sadly, is a property tax exemption for solar power systems. When you install a solar power system your monthly electric bill goes down. When your bill goes down, your property value goes up by about 20 times your expected annual savings. The majority of states now have property tax exemptions for renewable energy systems like your spiffy new solar power system. If the legislature doesn't want to get off its butt to provide a thorough statewide renewable energy policy, the least they could do is at least remove hindrances like this.

Sales Tax Exemption


Grade: A

Tennessee's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

If there aren't any tax credits, is Tennessee at least helping with a full tax exemption somewhere? You bet! When you install a solar power system here, the cost of that system is exempt from all sales tax. That saves you 6.25-8.25 % off the starting cost! You can choose to apply for the exemption up front (again, our installer partners will take care of all of this for you!) or to take the amount after the system is installed as a sales tax rebate. Hey! Tennessee does have a state tax credit … sorta. It’s not money back per se, but money not spent is still money saved!

Learn more about tax exemptions for solar

Low-income Solar Programs


Grade: F

Tennessee's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade Learn more about low-income solar programs available in the U.S.

The consensus on Tennessee solar power rebates and incentives

Tennessee has something of a split-identity going on with solar power policy. TVA has has several start-and-stop solar programs, and the latest, the Dispersed Power Program, is not all that great. We’re hopeful that Tennessee can get it together when it comes to state policy, but for now, there isn’t much to recommend home solar to the people of the Volunteer State.

113 thoughts on “2020 Tennessee Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

  1. I suggest you research TVA’s GPP again. Once the very positive program you describe, today’s GPP, by paying far less than the retail price/kWh for 100% of the solar power generated, a GPP system will never pay for itself and will never generate positive cashflow.

    Further, since TVA will not buy any excess power from a customer’s behind the meter system, TVA forces the solar customer to either install a tiny system that will never produce excess power (all solar system occasionally do so) or install still expensive solar storage. TVA has long subtly discouraged solar and continues to do so more openly.

    The good news is that installing a properly sized solar system behind the meter and using all power internally, is likely the best investment of any kind available to most people, and it will continue to pay off for 40 or more years.

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Thanks John, this page does need an update. TVA’s Green Power Providers program is indeed a shadow of what it once was, and Tennesseans are worse off for it. Stay tuned.

  2. If I have large capacity batteries to run at night and in off sun hours would I be better off not to connnect to TVA?

    1. Avatar for Dale Dale says:

      TVA will purchase your power for a period off 20 years. System size up to 10kW receive $.09 per kWh. Over 10kW and up to 50kW system receive $.075 per kWh. So, if you are on the TVA program, you can offset your power bill while taking advantage of your hybrid solar facility’s stored energy during evening and night hours. You actually have a few different options for set up under this scenario.

      1. Avatar for John Atkins John Atkins says:

        Dale, Just now seeing your comment… TVA’s GPP (enrollment ends this year) pays only 75% commercial) to 90% (residential) of retail price for 100% of your solar output. You then must buy any power you need to use in the regular way: at full retail + about 10% sales tax. Even if you have a separate battery, you cannot add your solar power to it, only purchased power. How does this offset one’s power bill in any kind of positive way the benefits you instead of TVA?

    2. Behind the meter (not connected) is far better. To sell power to TVA, you must sell ALL of the solar power to TVA and buy all the power you need at full retail, plus sales tax, after paying federal tax on that money and investing $thousands in a solar system. eMail me and I will send you an analysis of the three ways you have to go with solar.

      1. Avatar for Judith Martin Judith Martin says:

        Could you send me your analysis. We are in the process of getting solar installed and considering the Gpp

        1. Avatar for John Atkins John Atkins says:

          Please send me your eMail address and I will send the analysis as an attachment Mine is [email protected]

      2. Avatar for Dennis Dennis says:

        I would like to see your analysis and thorough break down of how to set up “behind the meter”, thanks.

        1. Avatar for John Atkins John Atkins says:

          Dennis, I received an eMail you sent me through “[email protected]”. To send you the solar analysis you requested I really need your direct eMail address. Mine is [email protected]

    3. George, batteries do not produce power. You’d have to get the power from somewhere, ideally from a solar system large enough to meet all your requirements. So, as a homeowner, unless you live so remotely that hooking up to TVA costs more than your off-the-grid power source, batteries will not save you money. HOWEVER, if you are a business and you pay utility DEMAND CHARGES, batteries alone are a well-proven way to shift your power consumption to reduce/eliminate demand charges that may increase your power bill by 40-60%. Solar + batteries is even better.

  3. Avatar for Steve McQueen Steve McQueen says:

    Hello, Can you supply us some Solar Modules with watt rating 300-320 mono? (1). Canadian Solar CS6K-270M 270W Mono Solar Panel (2). Canadian Solar CS6K-275M 275W Mono Solar Panel (3). Canadian Solar CS6K-285M T4 285W Mono Solar Panel (4). Canadian Solar CS6K-285M T4 5BB 285W Mono Solar Panel (5). Canadian Solar CS6K-305MS 305w Mono Solar Panel Your quick respond will be appreciate. Best of regards. Steve McQueen (Purchasing Manager) — Sincerely, Marketing Team Spring City Electric Technologies E:[email protected]

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Hey Steve-

      We don’t sell solar modules. Hope you find what you’re looking for.

  4. Avatar for Johnny O Johnny O says:

    How is that the TVA requires only certified NABCEP installers are allowed to install your system. One of the reasons I want to instal a PV array is to save money, the main reason; but, it seems to me like the whole approach is rigged to set up the installers for all the monetary gains. They can set the price and really take away from your (my) savings. If I buy a 10kw system and pay 12k for it, I can install it for nothing (other than the Electrician I have to pay to tie in) but the way I understand it is that I cannot do that. Is this true, can I not buy and install the sytem myself and tie into the grid or do I have to have the NABCEP certified person over it all? I would like to know the most cost effective way to do this. If I can buy my own system then I can save quite a bit. I prefer to instal it but am not sure if I can get in on the GPP if I do. Please advise me…

    1. Avatar for Dale Dale says:

      To be on the GPP program, you are required to have a NABCEP professional oversee, install and/or commission the system. You can install it yourself as long as you can find a NABCEP professional that is willing to oversee the installation and approve of it for commissioning.

      1. Avatar for John Atkins John Atkins says:

        There are several kinds of NABCEP training. TVA requires NABCEP certified installers. Some such contractors may let you/guide you do some of the work, but they will/should do the solar-specific work themselves.

    2. TVA is only involved if you enroll in their GPP program (which expires 12/31/19) that mandates TVA buy 100% of the solar power produced. (You must buy all the power you need in the usual way). Thus, TVA, with a real interest to ensure the power they buy is compatible, have confidence that NABCEP certified installers know the peculiarities of solar. NABCEP does necessarily raise costs, but the training is expensive and requires measures even experienced non-NABCEP electricians may not know. You could install yourself and hope to find an NABCEP Installer to sign off (putting their certificate at risk).

      The better solution is to install Behind the Meter — no TVA or local utility involvement — and hire engineers to do the design and NABCEP installers to do the solar-specific work. We do.

  5. Avatar for Rick Rick says:

    Grade F for the lowest rates? You lost me immediately when I read that. You want us to pay 3x for electricity so you can sell your garbage? More Marxist BS here.

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Hey Rick-

      Thanks for writing. It’s true, the state receives an F for its electricity rates, specifically as it regards the potential for financial benefit from solar. That means solar panels make less financial sense here than other places, because they take longer to pay their cost back. The desire to use the tools at your disposal to your economic advantage is as capitalist as it gets, my friend. If you want to talk about “Marxism,” you should know that the energy in Tennessee is so cheap primarily because of huge federal investments in infrastructure over a period of many decades.

      Usually when we look at why energy rates are low, we see a lot of power plants that burn fossil fuels, which have their own true costs shifted onto the people who live in the place where the power plants operate. Sure, buying coal-fired energy can be cheap up-front, but the long-term costs pile up as increases in environmental damage and healthcare expenses. Tennessee is a bit of a different story, with most electricity supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which gets 37% of its energy from nuclear power, with an additional 12% from hydro and wind/solar.

      The TVA was set up through federal funds, and, though it has long since paid back that initial investment, continues to provide electricity at below-average rates through its mix of legacy nuclear and smart management of the area’s natural resources. Other states in the country don’t have such abundant natural resources or 3 nuclear plants. They must therefore import energy, at a high cost. This makes electricity prices high and therefore makes solar a better deal for homeowners.

      Those states get better grades for electricity prices in our ranking, because it makes solar a better deal there.

  6. Avatar for Michelle Smith Michelle Smith says:

    Hello! I came upon your article and I wanted to ask which utility/company in Knoxville buys back solar energy? Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Hi there!

      KUB allows you to connect your home solar system and sell electricity back to the grid under TVA’s Green Power Providers program. More information here:

      Thanks, and have a sunny day!

  7. Avatar for andy andy says:

    While the State of Tennesse doesn’t have interconnect rules, TVA that supplies power to most of the State sure does. You’ll have to sign a contract with them, and agree to whatever hoops they require to install a PV solar system….or you won’t be interconnecting.

    1. Avatar for Dale Dale says:

      Interconnect rules do apply in Tn. They are dictated by the individual LPC (Local Power Company), not the State.

  8. Avatar for Rick Rick says:

    Hi, I can’t read the rest of your article because the free download window pops out and covers half of your content on my screen. And I’ve already gone through the process and downloaded the .pdf. Please fix it. Thanks,

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Hey, Rick– there should be an “X” icon in the upper right corner that allows you to close the slide-in for the Ultimate Guide to solar. If you can’t see the X, it might be because of a pop-up blocker, ironically. Hope that helps.


  9. Avatar for Stephen Stephen says:

    TVA in Tennessee has eliminated the $1000 solar rebate and has eliminated all performance payments in 2016.

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Yep, that’s sadly true. The TVA program worked very well, and Tennessee has much more solar adoption than all the other states in the southeast. Here’s hoping they come up with another program soon!

      1. Avatar for TnAndy TnAndy says:

        Ain’t gonna happen. In fact, as of 1 Jan 2020, the Green Partners program is history. TVA has made the decision they want no more small solar……only utility sized installs will be allowed in the future.

        1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

          Unfortunately, you’re right about that. People need to band together and demand some action from the General Assembly on some common-sense protections and proactive help for homeowners looking to go solar. Like, stat!

          1. Avatar for Dale Dale says:

            GPP is expiring, but it looks like TVA is planning a replacement program. Word on the street is, it’s going to be single bi-directional metering similar to net metering. Hopefully the replacement program will be worthwhile.

  10. Avatar for tawana wilson tawana wilson says:

    how do we get solar n our town

  11. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    My self installed 4.6KW system went online January 2012, produces more KW than we use, so no electric bills, and TVA sends me about $800 annually.

    1. Avatar for Patrick Kilhoffer Patrick Kilhoffer says:

      Sweet! I’m very happy it worked out so well for you! In general, people are better off having a certified contractor handle the installation, but clearly you had the skills to pull it off. Congratulations!

  12. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Well I own a 3k solar panels. Just this month April I recieved a letter that my solar panel metter is now going to be charged $15 a month and that they are charging some meters in other counties higher amounts. So tell me, where are the real savings. The electric company person told me that the reason we are being charged is because the solar panels benefit the homeowner, not the power company. Really….I thought it was for the power company to get green power. Just shows that green power is not worth it.

  13. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    The math isn’t quite right on these numbers. A 5kw should easily cost around $4/watt these days, if it’s roof mounted. Also, with the premium payment plus retail, you’re getting paid around $0.14/kwh. So, even with a conservative estimate of your power generation, a 5kw should generate about $75 in credits each month, not $49 as stated. In 2013, a 5kw was worth about $100 per month, so it’s unfortunate that the premium has dropped so much. Also, it’s a little disingenuous to say that TN isn’t offering a State Tax Credit. We don’t pay any income tax at all, so there’s nothing to credit other than the sales and property taxes, which TN does offer breaks or exemptions on. The TVA GPP program is far from perfect (especially since they’ve throttled the number of MW allowed), but you’re site isn’t giving the best description of the state of solar in TN.

  14. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I’m in Hampshire TN. Where did you get your panels and do I need a certified electrician to install?

  15. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    The TVA program is now $0.04 cents/kWh, not $0.12 cents.

    1. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:

      Have you got a link for this change? We don’t see this program moving to $.04 anywhere.

  16. Avatar for andy andy says:

    June, 2013

    Added 10 more 255w panels to our system, using the Enphase inverters. We’re up to 11kw now, and that should do us.

  17. Avatar for Patricia Clements Patricia Clements says:

    I am very interested in finding a Solar leasing company such as Sungevity or Sun City for our residence in Goodlettsville, TN. Are there any solar leasing companies that service Tennessee?

    1. Avatar for Jason Jason says:

      We will be doing this soon. Stay tuned and drop off some info so that we can reach out!

      1. Avatar for Jason Jason says:

        Yeah I am interested in solar leasing as well…

  18. Avatar for Andy Andy says:

    2014 Solar Savings Outlook: Added our 4th array, a ground based, fixed mount of 10 x 255w panels that are grid tied only using Enphase micro inverters. BOY, was that install a breeze compared to my previous arrays ! And it will be so easy to add on to..( and I will ).. It went online the first week of December. The 255w panels were down to $350/ea compared to paying over 600 in 2011 for 245w panels ! I ended up with about $6,000 total in this 4th array…..panels, inverters, wiring, internet hub,( which was $500…..but you only need one no matter how many more panels I add ), ground mounting.

    System total now right at 8kw.

    Enphase inverters are really cool, in that they have a near real time reporting, and you can view my public side website to see what that 4th array ( the one in the foreground of the page photo ) is producing today, or over the last month, or lifetime.

    Didn’t do 400 this year, but our end of the year check ( in addition to no bills ) was for $329.98 Shooting for 500-600 next year !

    Energy production:

    2009 —- 2924 kw/hrs
    2010—–3530 kw/hrs
    2011—–4724 kw/hrs
    2012—–7333 kw/hrs
    2013—–9,000 ??

  19. Avatar for Michael Schocket Michael Schocket says:

    Linda, for such a small amount of power you might look into the portable solar panel chargers/backups that are widely available. They are all-in-one setups that convert solar energy into electricity, with plugs/attachments. I’ve seen some that are pretty inexpensive that seem like they could certainly run a lamp and a small fan.

  20. Avatar for Linda Doyle Linda Doyle says:

    Hello, I live in a very rural area. There is an old man living in the woods not far from me. I want to help him (if I can afford it). He refuses to rely on public electric. He lives in a VERY old wood cabin. As I’ve gotten to know him- he is a wonderful person, always willing to help others. I want to do something for him. We don’t have much wind here, so I doubt a windmill would work.- maybe a small solar panel? All he needs is to produce enough electricity to run a small fan and 2 lights/lamps to read by. He gets his water from a local spring fed river about a mile away. He is 78 yers old. I know nothing about any of this, so I’m hoping you can help. What can I do to help him get a small amount of electricity in his cabin. I’m worried about him in the heat. Now he has a cord running from a truck battery into the cabin to let him read about 30 minutes at night. He has no A/C.I don’t have a lot of money, what can I do to help? thank You,

  21. Avatar for Forrest Forrest says:

    What should I be paying for a 3.78 KW sunpower 210 system in TN installed.

  22. Avatar for Lucy Charles Lucy Charles says:

    There are companies in New York State now offering free installation for a system of roof panels, free maintenance, in addition to a $750 gift card incentive. If it is profitable in NY state, surely it is profitable in Tennessee where there are more days of sunshine. Where are the TN businesses taking advantage of the opportunities?? Get cracking!!

  23. Avatar for andy andy says:

    2011 Update:

    Late fall of 2011, I finally got my third array in place…..10-245w Solarworld panels on a homebuilt dual axis tracking mount. And added a pair of 175w panels to even up the previous two arrays at 10 panels each. Total system panel rating is now 5.95kw.

    The new panels were enough to boost our October production to a new record ( for us ) of 658kw/hrs !

    We actually ended the year with a credit of $101, and got a check from the Johnson City Power Bd.

    Total spent on power last year ( including the year end check ) was $49, and with this fall’s addition, I anticipate no more power bills this year, and a check for about $400 or so end of 2012.

  24. Avatar for andy andy says:


    Get ready for disappointment, I’m afraid….a 2.88kw system will NOT provide a $140 worth of power per month.

    You’re looking at maybe 350-400kw/hrs/month in your BEST months….maybe 50 bucks.

    Sorry, that the real truth.

  25. Avatar for andy andy says:


    Not sure where you’re getting $2,000 on a $55,000 solar system, which by the way, is AWFUL high for a 6 kw system….the typical grid tie system is running in the $5/w range, installed, if you shop around…..meaning a 6kw system should run about $30,000, not 55,….BUT even assuming you spend 55,00, the federal tax credit is 30%, which would be:


    and TVA kicks in a flat $1,000 on top of that when you connect.

  26. Avatar for andy andy says:


    On building your own:

    1. Panels have gotten down to the price point you simply can’t build your own and compete. No way.

    2. Even IF the above is wrong, you can’t legally connect non UL approved panels to the grid…meaning homebuilt panels don’t qualify.

  27. Avatar for Jay Jay says:

    So I just got my quote form ECE in Memphis and $18K for a turn key 2.88KW system. TVA GPP program gives a $1K bonus and $12 cents over base (which has risen to nearly $0.10). Then the US government gives your 30% (,,id=211307,00.html) without the same restrictions as say the Leaf tax deduction. In this case I’m looking at %5417 + the $1K signup bonus + $140 deduction per summer month (guesstimating $80-90 in winter). Based on this, I calculated an 8.8yr breakeven.

    The are the SunPower E19 couples to Enphase M215’s and both show a 25yr life. SunPowerhas a E20 panel that is commercial only.

  28. Avatar for JPWhite JPWhite says:

    I find it puzzling that I can get $7,500 from the federal govt and $2,500 from Tennessee for buying my LEAF. That’s $10,000 incentive on a $33,000 car.

    Compare that to a $55,000 6KwH solar system and you get $2,000 in incentives.

    OK So I’ve got the car; so now make it possible for me to power my house and car off the grid for a reasonable cost.

    Instead of giving bankers trillions to save their sorry hides, how about a few billion for solar energy?


  29. Avatar for Lucas Lucas says:

    Well said Joe!! I think it’s also worth saying that you can build your OWN solar panels, which reduces the cost SUBSTANTIALLY. It is time consuming to do the research, and it’s not very easy, but it makes the switch to solar financially feasible. But we are quite a lazy society. I’m working on my first panel now, and provided that it works, I plan to make more, eventually cutting ties with the power company. Seems like the best way to go.

  30. Avatar for Joe Joe says:

    I have been to 42 out of 50 American states during my travels and I have met people that were raised in every state. Alot of you all are not looking at the bigger picture I think. Tennessee is one of the cheapest states to live as far as taxes go and thank GOD there is no state income tax.

    North Carolina for example I pay more in property taxes than my sister which owns more land and a slightly larger home than mine. I pay state income tax, our sales tax is slightly cheaper than in TN but North Carolina charges you a yearly tax on the value of the car you own. Pray to GOD you don’t own what they call a “classic car”. (((One the the guys I work with had to sell the car he bought when he moved to NC because they called it a “classic”. They were going to charge him $15,000 a year the car he paid $10,000 JUST to own it))).

    TO THE POINT: Everyone as a whole should pressure the government to pressure electric companies in transferring to clean energy for the enviroment, for our children and for national security.

    WHY: The government will ALWAYS keep their hands in our pockets because other countries and Americans will keep their hands out asking for freebies. So regardless if you do go off grid to try and save money the goverment will ALWAYS take more than you can afford to support those request. EVERYONE should focus more on demanding HOW our government spends OUR money instead of asking to get a tax break. “Tax break being temporary relief”.

    Some of you still won’t understand the “WHY” so I will explain another way. People are lazy. Look at how many obese people you see in America, people ARE lazy. How many of those people do you think are going to maintenance an emissions free power system? 10%..20%. Do you honestly think they will spend the time learning to maintenance the equipment when the only thing they can think about is ways to get out of working? (Co-worker of my Dad’s is 367 pounds. He goes to the Doctor and finds he is eligible for disability. Put simply if he would lose weight he would not have these health problems. But instead he has found a way to stop working and he tells my Dad he is going to collect his check from the government. Paid by me and you.)

    So if we demand our tax money be spent wisely, demand our electric companies go 100% emissions free it will benefit every American, every Americans’ children and speed up the process for saving the enviroment.

    How is this going to make you money? You can bank on it that if we forced our government to do the right thing everyone would save money in taxes without having to spend a dime.

    America sends Pakistan $3 trillion in aid. (A study was done, 90% of Pakistan is against Americans meaning they hate us yet they are glad to take our money.) America sends China money for aid (We owe them money!!! Why are we giving them free money?) TARP money was given to banks as a bailout (Senior CEOs earn 1 million in bonus pay and they purchase new jets with the money OUR government sent them). Black American farmers were given $50,000 a peice for discrimination by our government. (I say good they deserve their hard earned money lost. The problem is in the settlement it says if you “attempted to farm” you were entitled to $50,000. $2 billion was started to reimburse them and because so many “attempted to farm” NOT farmers the government had to dish out more of our tax dollars.) Clothes are sent to Iraqis to help them during time of war. (The Iraqis cut those clothes up, sold them back to us and now we use them as oil rags. I know because I am in Iraq.)

    Look at the bigger picture, educate yourselves so YOU CAN make a difference in the enviorment, save yourself some money and save the American economy without spending a dime.

    How do you do that? Protest protest protest. Something can be learned from France. Their government is afraid of the people but in America we are afraid of our government.

  31. Avatar for E. Field E. Field says:

    I have spend a lot of money on solar since I moved to Kingsport Tennessee and Tennessee government should be embarrass from the lack of incentives to get customers to invest into alternate energy.

  32. Avatar for andy andy says:

    Last December (2010) was the end of our 2nd year of PV solar. 2010 was a “clean” year, in that I didn’t make any changes ( 2009, added more panels mid year )

    Here are the production numbers for 2010:

    3339kw/hrs solar produced for the year.

    Average per month: 278.25kw/hrs produced

    Total used for 2010: 13,743kw/hrs
    Average month: 1145kw/hrs

    Total electric bills: $550.87
    Average monthly bill: $45.91

    System is a 3.15kw rated, 18 175w panels on single axis homebuilt trackers.

    Plans for this year are to add 10 more panels on a new array (245w panels) upping the system to 5.5kw rated.

  33. Avatar for SHANNON W. SHANNON W. says:

    I seen a post on here about the so called (green energy)you can buy from TVA via the Johnson City power board. If you research it on their site it shows for each $4.00 block you get 150 kwh. I called Johnson City power board and spoke to marketing section to find out this is a big scam. They told me the sky is the limit on how many you buy but the blocks dont go to the buyer. It is said to go to the grid and you are donating to everyone around you. THis is a lie. Everyone around me also has a cash register (power meter), outside their house, that clicks on for the power board. Please dont waste your hard earned money letting them fraud you.

  34. Avatar for Karlene Karlene says:

    I am very interested in going solar. I know through much research it is expensive to purchase. I have found a 3 Kw system used but i live in a remote area of Pocahontas, Tn. I am in the process of trying to find out who installs solar, the people in phone book is no help they are not qualified or so that is what ive found so far. I am just now starting the process.

  35. Avatar for Eric Eric says:

    I also find it disturbing that so many people want other citizens to subsidize their green lifestyle. Everybody is paying tons of taxes on every product and service, including people who can barely afford to eat, so when I hear that somebody who wants to build their dream house is upset that the government, aka their neighbors, won’t give them money to help with it… Tennessee isn’t in the 19th Century – Tennessee provides a lot more liberty for its citizens than states like California that are taxing and regulating their state and citizens into bankruptcy to pay for all their green mandates.

  36. Avatar for Mark Mark says:

    Troy suggests tieing some panels to circuit(s) in your house. Anyone enough of an electircian to tell more details of code violations, etc. to watch out for. I sure wish I could avoid batteries and use my existing home wiring with homemade panels etc. Anyway, I emailed the big solar company in Nashville with one question and they quickly asked if they could send a guy to give me a proposal for free. Can’t beat that.
    [email protected]

  37. Avatar for TackyTeddy TackyTeddy says:

    Here in Cumberland County TN it cost me $7000 for the PV panels, micro inverters, service pipe meter box, main box and CB’s and wire. Also a few helping hands for this 1.4Kw (nameplate) system.

    TVA (VEC) will give me $1,000 up front and pay $0.12 over my base Kw rate of $0.085). so TVA (VEC)is paying $0.20 per Kw for a 10yr contract. They (VEC) charges me a $250.00 meter hookup fee, so that $1000.00 is really $750.00 (hands in pocket)

    So I should get about $30.00 per month from my 1.4 Kw system facing do South on a 6/12 pitch roof.

    This picture link (mine) might work for ya (work in progress)

    Also here’s our group Cumberland County TN Chapter of the Solar Energy Association

  38. Avatar for Douglas Benton Douglas Benton says:

    Want to start a couple of million jobs? Why can’t we get our STUPID elected oficials to increase the 30% tax credit to 100% and we could all install solar on our homes and businesses??? Then, TVA wouldn’t have to buy any coal, Co2 levels would go down, no more acid-rain in the mountains, our electric bill would go down to maybe $0, and our utility could keep the same infrastructure for many years. We are a 3rd party financing company in the solar industry in Tennessee! For just 3 to 5% deposit, we can install any size system you want and you get your deposit back in 2 to 3 years!!! Please email me at [email protected] for more information.

  39. Avatar for Coty Coty says:

    Anyone in Middle TN area? My neighbor just installed 4 HUGE panels in his yard. I am told he is being paid for using them. I would like to install some as well and did see the flexable panels. Can anyone in this area give me an idea of how much I would need to spend to and how much I would need (3000 sq ft house) to make a difference.

  40. Avatar for Ge orge T Ge orge T says:

    You know, I am simply amazed and disgusted at the number of people wanting a tax deduction or some special dispensation because they want to go solar. HEY! If it’s what you want, do it. Why should Tennessee taxpayers subsidize you being able to sell back electricity to TVA, a publicly owned electric company.
    As for solar, the reason few people have it is because it is cost prohibitive.
    There are currently available, mini-nuclear plants that can supply electricity to communities of around 25,000 houses, for about $300 dollars a year; the home owners would have to pay the cost of the unit, to be installed underground. THAT cost would be about 2,000 dollars every 10 years. If you are mathematically inclined, you can see the superior advantage to this kind of electric producer. And the more of these units that are sold, the cheaper they will get.
    Kiss solar goodbye: it is too costly and inefficient; the maintenance is also expensive. And stop looking for others to pay for you to get what you want.

    1. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:

      Hey George,

      I hear you on the gripe about taxpayers subsidizing other’s solar installations and I gotta say, that’s one hell of an interesting idea to have your own little nuclear plant underneath your home. While many citizens probably wouldn’t mind the increased odds of having their children born with extra limbs, some might. Gotta correct you on the maintenance aspect of solar however – there is relatively little that needs to be done to maintain a solar system once it is up on your roof. Then again, I’m not sure you’re the type of person who would have panels up there in the first place. Thanks for stopping by,

      – Dan

  41. Avatar for Troy Troy says:

    I think photovoltaics are a useful part of the energy supply, but I’m amazed at how many people on here are upset because they want solar for their own use, but are unhappy someone else won’t help them pay for it! Stop blaming the other guy, save up and make it happen. You could put in a few panels and a few batteries for under $2,500.00. Put a couple of your moderately used lighting circuits on it and you are on your way. Stop looking for handouts or for someone else to get it done for you.

    1. Avatar for Dude Dude says:

      Oh yeah, You got it Troy. Free lunch crowd is so emotional. I would love to sell solar back to the TVA. Think about it. If it was such a great idea, why won’t TVA just put up their own PV panels? They get you to pay for 3/4 of it and then maintain it and they pay you pennies on the KwH for it. Great deal for them!

  42. Avatar for Scott Kersey Scott Kersey says:

    I can agree with most things posted here. It really chaps my backside when I hear on the news TVA has jerked rates up (for the umpteenth month in a row), followed by a news blurb about the TVA handing out multi-million dollar bonuses to its upper management. I’d love to swing to the solar side of the fence, but its just not cost effective yet. Adding to the frustrations, no one will lend me the 40K+ I’d need to build the system. “Unproven tech”, “Not a good return on (our)investment”, “We can’t secure a loan with solar panels” are things I’ve heard when asking to borrow some cash. BUT, if I asked for 40K to go buy a new gas sucking hummer…the answer is always the same “SURE”. WTH is wrong with this picture? Why has it been made so hard to get the switch done? At what point will we step forward rather than backward?
    Like many of you, I’m sick of $300 per month heading out the door to the electric company, in exchange for using my lights. I’ve replaced light bulbs with CFLs, pushed the A/C to 77 and heat to 65 in winter, I yell at the kids to turn off anything they aren’t using…and yet every month the bill edges closer to 400.
    The worst part, I pass a sign everyday that is tacked up to a telephone pole “Knoxville, a Solar City”…ya, right, sure it is…We can give huge tax breaks to the big corps, but little guys get either a few thousand or nada when we try to change the world. Perhaps a change in management (or government) is in order. Carter put solar on the white house in ’79, Reagan had them removed soon after…that should say something about the state of affairs we see in this country.
    Convincing the average Joe that solar, wind, or bio-fuels are a smart move seems to be like explaining nuclear physics to a cave man. Should it really be this hard?
    I have imagined a world, with a simple plan of just a few PV cells per home. All grid inter-tied, and reducing the overall load on the system. Everyone benefits, tax breaks or rebates cover the costs, (we are after all spending billions is US cash to fund wars overseas, and giving those same countries billions in “rebuilding” aid all to protect some silly oil production BS, that we could do without all together if we pulled our head outta our ___ and used alternative tech) its a win-win for the consumer…but a net loss for the producer.
    Ok, enough…I’ll step off the soap box for now. Hopefully, some will read this and get as fired up as I am, or maybe a few might just change their thinking on the whole green type movement.

    1. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:


      Thanks for your thoughts, especially your comparison of securing funds for a gas guzzling Hummer to home solar panels.

    2. Avatar for Dude Dude says:

      Sounds like the bank is the only one with any sense. If they won’t loan you money, they know IT AIN’T WORTH IT. Now the car has value, so they loan you $. Warm and fuzzy, tree hugging, dirt person stuff (emotional) is not always commercially viable. Capitalism (logical) works and works well. Why would a cave man need to know nuclear physics? he would not! Rule of thumb. If the govm’nt is subsidizing it, then it is not viable. If they are taxing it, then it is! Simple as that.

  43. Avatar for jack henley jack henley says:

    joey eavey, you say we can build the solar for hundreds as to the thousands that i have priced. i would be interested if you could give me some direction on this. i am talking solar panels. i live in lenoir city tn. lcub power they don,t give credits yet but i will ask for them to start and see what they say if enough of us ask.

  44. Avatar for Gary Fletcher Gary Fletcher says:

    It seems to me that you are either off the grid or on. There is no in between. So to be completely off the grid it is necessary to have a battery system to supply power for the duration of the highest consumption hours during the day. What device must I purchase to gauge this usage? In addition, I have a friend who has a cabin on High Knob in Wise County Virginia completly off the grid. He says his main problem is batteries. He says that NASA has the correct batteries but the government entity won’t release them. He says these batteries would solve all the off production time power requirements. Anyone have intimate knowledge of these batteries?

  45. Avatar for Rita Rita says:

    Does anyone have a recommendation of a solar installer in TN close to Memphis?

    1. Avatar for Dave Llorens Dave Llorens says:

      Hi Rita,

      Please fill this out and if we have anyone in the area they will give you a buzz.

  46. Avatar for Ken Ken says:

    Andy, you need to have the local utility install a net meter. My systems produces just like yours but when I’m not consuming I have actually watched my meter spin backwards. In the example you gave above about going on vacation, first read would be 4911 and second read would be 4411 indicating that you actually put all your energy on the grid. Oh and the .12 cents is in addition to the 9.5 cents so you should be getting a credit of .21.5 cents per KwH. Just a thought but you might want to take that up with the local utility.

  47. Avatar for Joey Eavey Joey Eavey says:

    I want to know why they wont buy all power produced.I have 100 acres to start a solar and wind farm, but they wont pay you for all the energy your capable of producing.taxpayers paid for grid why cant we use & wind is very simple to manufacture yourself why do they make you spend $30,000 when you can build your own commercial grade panel for a few hundred.How long are americans just going to keep letting these evil corp. & Gov. officials get awy with it.I’m a builder & my wife teaches, we pay for all the bums, we pay for the CEO’s new jets, now there’s not a gallon of milk for my own kids.Let’s all do something,100 milion on Oboma’s porch should do the trick. [email protected]

  48. Avatar for andy andy says:

    And of course, my figures were off in the example I used…..500+300 is 800 and times 9 cents is $72, not 81….so the total bill would be 8 + 72 or 80, not 90…..

    But since this has no “edit” feature, I couldn’t correct my mistake….please forgive….it’s early….ahahahaaa

  49. Avatar for andy andy says:


    Harvey is trying too explain the rate structure, but I too found it quite confusing.

    Here’s the deal.

    TVA has a program called Green Partners. TVA will pay ( new, as of 1 July 09 ) 12 cents/kwhr OVER whatever your local power distributor charges for all solar (PV) electricity you produce…..BUT your local power distributor has to agree to participate in the program…..only a handful across the TVA region do…..but I suspect it’s more because nobody asked the others to do so that they don’t. Our distributor ( Johnson City Power Board ) did not until I attended a meeting and asked them to do so.

    So, no, they don’t “push” the program, and unless someone in their distribution area is going to install a grid tied system, they don’t participate…but again, I suspect it’s more a matter of just asking them to do so…..since the costs are paid by TVA.

    On the pay: Your solar pay is 12 cents/kwhr. Say your local is 9 cents ( it varies from distributor to distributor ), you would receive 21 cents TOTAL for everything your separate solar production meter records.

    Your bill ( or at least MY JCPB bill )records the number of KwHrs on the original billing meter….say it shows I used 500kwhrs this month…they would charge me 8 bucks for the customer charge plus 9 cents times 500 ( $45 ) for the 500kwhrs……so my bill SHOULD read 8+45=$53.

    But it doesn’t. Because they assume you also used ALL the solar you produced as well. Say my solar meter says I produced 300kwhrs that same month.

    My bill would be for $8 + ( 500+300 )x 9 cents, or 8+81=$90.

    The billing paperwork ( at least JCPB ) is clunky, and does NOT show you are being billed for 800kwhrs ( it shows only the 500 from the billing meter )… have to sort of “figure it out” by knowing the power rate and working it backwards from there…but that IS what they are doing.

    OK…so your bill is $90.

    NOW you get your credit for the solar production.

    21 cents x 300hrs = $63

    $90 – $63 = net bill of $27…that is what you pay.

    The billing meter is bi-directional, so should you produce more power than your house is consuming at any point, the billing meter runs BACKWARDS…..and of course, that would reduce the amount shown in “KwHrs used this month” when you get your bill…potentially, with a large enough system, you could end up with positive credit in your account…and it REALLY wouldn’t take that large a system with the 12cent factor…

    For example, our 3kw system produces about 350-400kws hours per month….and we typically use about 900/month ( and have for 30 years )….

    900kwhrs (total) x 9 cents + CCharge is a $90 bill.

    400kwhrs x 21 cents is $84.

    We’d owe 6 bucks.

    So with a slightly larger system, we’d be on the “they owe us” side of things quite a bit of the time……

  50. Avatar for Alan Ingram Alan Ingram says:

    Recently, overflying Nashville and Tampa and West Palm Beach, FL, I noticed a large number of very large commercial business buildings that could be ripe for solar panel installatins to reduce the amount of draw from the grid. Maybe the more logical solar farms are existing structures in the high use areas.

  51. Avatar for jimmy-joe jimmy-joe says:

    Hey guys it’s real easy to send an email to your state representitive telling them how you feel about alternative energy and the direction you feel this country should be heading. Trading a bunch of carbon credits between the big oil companies ain’t going to do nothing but raise the price of gas at the pump for us working types. We need some real help from those folks we sent to Washington. Green is the way to go long term no doubt… It’s going to take a while to get there no doubt… So what the heck do we do in the meantime while we are waiting for solar – etc. to get cheaper? How much stuff ever gets cheaper?

  52. Avatar for jimmy-joe jimmy-joe says:

    Sorry I think I confused Ralph for Harvey, I meant to say… Did anyone understand what Harvey had to say? It’s kind of like some sort of code or something… What is he saying?

  53. Avatar for jimmy-joe jimmy-joe says:

    Did anyone understand a word that the Ralph guy said…? I didin’t get any of it. My question is that I didn’t think that the electric coop’s in TN did ANYTHING to help push solar at the residential level. I thought that if I did build a system on my house, that I would HAVE to be off the power grid and simply have a stand alone system that supplied no one but me… Ya’ll educate me here, what is the real scoop? We will probably sell in a few years and leave the Memphis area to head closer to the TN river area and I believe the coop there is pickwick electric near the lake but I am not sure about the coop further north of say Savannah TN. I had thought about retirement around Corinth MS or over in Alabama even, but have no idea what those coops offer either. I’m not too sure about being north of I-40 near the river because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot in the way hospital support etc. Of course I may need more education in that subject also. I am sure there is more if you go all the way up to Paris Tn… but it gets a bit colder there in winter months. Ya’ll be good… or be good at it… over & out

  54. Avatar for Ralph Ralph says:

    harvey, and all others. We here in Nashville, TN are also more than Lucky, TVA is providing a Net-metering as well, every bit of power you produce using Solar, Wind, Hydro into the Grid with a Grid-tied system, you will receive $0.15 back on your Electric bill. You are being charged for each KWH you are taking from the Grid $0.09. So now here comes the great news. If you are working family and your house sits idle – with less than for example 1 KW per hour, and your Solar panels are laid out for 4 KW peak, and the sun shines on your southern roof (no pun intended) for the majority of time you are at work (may 12 hours) then your Home is producing 12 * 3 KWH (excess energy then needed) * $0.15 = $5.40 a day * 360 = $1944 a year. Well in the morning Hours / Night time the home will probably also use somewhere conservatively 1.5 KW * 12 * 0.09 = $1.62 of power you will have to pay for * 360 = $583.20 – So your profit making home makes you an extra: $1360.80 a year! Not to mention the Carbon foot print reduction and the pollution reduction that you contributed. How does that sound as future outlook for all of us? Check out my blog for Ralph’s Going Green Blog!

  55. Avatar for harvey walden harvey walden says:

    I’m tied into south west elec in haywood country how its work here is at the current rate of .09kwh they will pay .12kwh for solar power. So when a person installs a solar system the elec company will install a meter in between the system and house let’s say your system produces 2000kwh per month and you use 2000kwh per month you will be charged 360 dollars instead of 180 that was your normal amount of your elec bill then south west will pay you .21kwh (.09 base pluse .12 for produceing renewable power) for every kwh that comes through the meter that’s between the system and the house. They will pay .21kwh x 2000kwh (which you produced) total of 420 dollars you paided 360 so you had a net of 80 dollars plus your base of 180 dollars so each month your saying 260 dollars x 12 months 3120 dollars. That’s at todays numbers in 18 months our elec will increase by 42 percent there’s a new bill going through congress as we speak that will make carbons credits go to 50 dollars a ton when that happens solar panels will be a hot topic (no pun intened) the largest constuction site in tn is east of nashville and cost 2b yes b and will be up for production in 2012 its a japan company that make solar panels and with the 25 m project at the haywood meg a site that will be a [email protected] solar field will take 23000 solar panels I believe in the near furture solar will be the norm in west tn area I’m sure the above was clear as mud hope I help alittle [email protected]

  56. Avatar for andy andy says:


    Adding batteries will up your cost considerably, as you have to have more components.

    I went that way because I wanted backup power if the grid is down ( which happens to us on a fairly regular basis….we are at the end of the line )….in fact, THAT was primary reason for my system, but a straight grid only tie would have been quite a bit cheaper. I probably have 25-30% more in my system because of the batteries…..the batteries alone were 2 grand……two Outback charge controllers ( $600 each ), wiring, extra disconnects, etc….

  57. Avatar for Meredith Meredith says:

    Thanks Andy. I was about to plunk down 5k to get rolling (something to build on). I live in Fayette Cty and Chickasaw Elec Coop is my elec company. They said I could grid tie. Do you think getting a battery would solve this or is it a bust?

  58. Avatar for andy andy says:

    Well, I have to admit I was operating on WRONG information in my above post. I was told by the fellow that sold me some of my equipment the above information about how the payment works, and like SO MUCH ELSE of what he told me, that is ALSO NOT CORRECT.

    I got to studying my first few bills with “generation partners credit” on it, and as it turns how, and this NOT very apparent from the bill until you put a calculator to it and REALLY start breaking it down, that NOT ONLY IS TVA NNNNNNNNOT paying you 15 cents NET for your production, you may well be paying THEM to produce it !!!!! WHAT A SCREW JOB !!!!!

    How SO you ask ?

    Well, here’s HOW it works.

    You have two meters. The normal “buy” meter for what you consume….and the “generation” meter for what you produce ( wind/solar ). They take the amount you produce and credit you 15 cents/kwhr……then they ASSUME you do use those hours in your house, and ADD THOSE VERY SAME HOURS to the amount of your normal meter reading ( but the JCPB sure doesn’t put THAT on the bill….you have to take the energy charge, divide it by the local amount per KwHr…if you know it…and come up with the ACTUAL amount of KwHrs they are charging you for !! )…..

    SO, here’s the breakdown….we pay our local power board 9.3 cents per hour. When you subtract that 9.3 cents from the 15 cents they give you credit for, your NET AMOUNT ( here ) is 5.7 cents…..that is ALL they are actually “giving” you. They show a “credit” on the bill of 0.15 times the number of hours produced, so you think “hey, this ain’t bad”, BUT what they DON’T show you without you calculating it is the fact YOU are paying for 62 cents of every dollar of “credit” on that deal !!!

    AND WAIT…it gets WORSE. Since they “assume” that every single one of those kilowatt hours you produce got used at YOUR house, and charge you for each of them on the buy side of the deal, should your house NOT actually use them, and they escape to the grid, YOU GET TO PAY THEM 9.3 cents per hour for the privilege of that !! WOW>>>WHAT A DEAL !!

    For example: Say my system produces 500 Kwhrs/month. Say I went on vacation and flipped the main breaker on my house so it was using NOTHING for 30 days while I was gone…nothing….absolutely zero. The buy meter would show no change from the previous month’s use ( assuming my vacation lined up exactly with the reading period )….but my solar power system kept right on rocking along, and produced it’s average 500kwhrs during that same time period. What would the bill for that month look like ?

    Previous reading ( example ) 4911
    Current reading 4911
    Hours used: 0
    Energy charge : $46.50 ( you owe them….for the 500 hours YOU produced )
    Generation credit: $75 ( credit to you at 15 cents/hr )

    Net amount due -28.50

    ALL OF YOUR 500 hours went out to the grid ( had to…you had the house shut off…it COULDN’T use any )and paid them 46.50 for that power that DID NOT come to your….they credit you 28.50 for it. $28.50 divided by 500 hours = 5.7 cents/hr

    OK, this is an EXTREME example of one end…..many of the hours you produce WILL actually be consumed by your own house, no doubt….but the deal is, THEY CAN’T TELL how many you actually DO use and how many escape to the grid…..but still bill you for ALL of them as if you DID use them !

    With a solar system, it’s quite possible MANY of them flow to the grid.

    Take your household demand. Most households, the demand is greatest in 2 periods of the day….6am to about 8am in my house, when we get up, make breakfast, shower, get ready for work, school, etc….but my system is NOT producing electricity right then, so I’m buying power thru the “buy” meter. Then about 9am, my solar power system comes online, produces great until about 4-5pm, about the time we get home, and start up our other demand time…..evening…and my system is producing nothing… again, we BUY power thru the BUY meter.

    What happened to the power produced during the day when nobody was home ?

    Well, some of it surely ran the fridge, and some phantom loads like the TV, the electric clocks, heat/air ( if you leave it on…..we don’t use either ), but let’s assume that SOME of that production actually “escaped” to the grid during your peak production but minimum use period. You STILL pay for that power you didn’t use ! AND the bigger your solar production, the more likely this is to happen….certainly NO incentive to expand your system, huh ?

    We have used 900 kwhrs per month, on average, for the last 30 years. IF I were to put in a system that produced 2000 kwhrs per month, average, TVA would only pay me 5.7 cents/hr for that extra 1100 Kwhrs I produced for them even though I spent the $100,000 it would take to put in such a system. Real deal, huh ?

    NOTHING like that “15 cents per hour” they tout in the Green Partners literature. In fact, you fool, you are probably producing power cheaper than THEY are at that rate…..but thanks…and have a nice day…..sucker……

    SO, the bottom line is the Generation Partner “deal” isn’t that much of a “deal” after all…..

  59. Avatar for Richard Richard says:

    Found out that AEP will not buy solar power, And there new meters will count the energy you send them as energy you used making your bill even higher, Those greedy XXXXXXXX will not change ther meters to reflect the energy you send to them.

  60. Avatar for Jason Kirby Jason Kirby says:

    I just read that there is a photo solar power plant in Memphis on Mendenhall. Sharp I believe. Here is my Idea. Sharp needs to have some sort of contract agreement with Lowe’s or Home Depot, to advertise and sell their products in the stores. They could train employees how to install, and make it like buying a car with a very low interst rate. Also since the supply and demand would both rise at about the same time, the cost should be reasonable. Then if it takes off really well in Memphis, the power plants could open in West Memphis, Arkansas, and spread outward. Abe Lincoln said we are a Government of the people, for the people, by the people. Let’s stop blaming the people we elect not doing their job, and start point some fingers at ourself. If every person in memphis who has a mortgage bought a Solar Roof from Sharp through Lowe’s instead of buying a new car this year, Memphis could be the first city in the US, to say, Hey America, this is how its really done: Self Government, Hooyah!

  61. Avatar for andy andy says:

    I finished up a 2kw solar install at my house and went online 19 Dec 08. Grid tie with battery backup, spent about 18k on it. You can certainly do a cheaper system by eliminating the battery backup, ( battery bank alone was 2k )but one of my primary reasons FOR the system was backup power in a grid down situation, so I didn’t go that route.

    So far, it’s produced about 250 KwHrs/month, but the first month was LOUSY weather here..snow, rain, foggy ( I live in East TN mountains ), and I mounted the panels on a couple of homemade tracking mounts, which I’ve had trouble getting to work so far ( control board issues )but when I do get them running, I expect then to do +/- 350kw/hrs per month on a year round average. Sure loving these LONGER spring days !!

    Getting ready to add another 6 panels to up it to 3.1kw total and shooting for 500kwhrs/month total. ( Another $5,000 )

    One thing folks might be missing here, and I didn’t catch myself until I did my actual install, is in addition to the 15 cent TVA generation partner credit you get, you ALSO get to use that hour of electricity AFTER it goes thru the buyback meter if your house is consuming electricity at that point ( which ours most likely is, as we have 3 freezers + fridge ), so the money works out BETTER than it seems at first….we pay about 9.5 cents/hr, but since we get the use of our solar hours ( if using while they generate ) + the 15 cents, that works out to around 20-24 cents/hr for our generation…..not a bad deal, folks.

    500hrs/month will be over 1/2 our normal 900hr/month use, and the way the money works, it should replace about all of our bill.

    If you have questions on my system, email me. [email protected]

  62. Avatar for Chad C Payne Sr Chad C Payne Sr says:

    I agree Residential systems are not really viable at this time. I am interested to see what the stimulus bill has in store for solar. I have done some calculations on Commercial systems and I can see a payoff of the original investment and a revenue in 9 years without considereing depreciation. Commercially in Tennessee systems should be priced between $8-10/watt installed, depending on the size of the system.

  63. Avatar for Earl Earl says:

    Even with the 30% tax refund it is still going to be a large expense in TN we just don’t get the sun other states get. I am looking at an 8,000 DC watt system with a solar thermal system for hot water this would give me around 11,000 AC kWh a year. This would be around 110% of my power usage for the year but since I do not have net metering here and since AEP will not buy my excess power I will need to ether cut back on the system or add Batteries so that I can power the house at night. If I was only 2 miles down the road I would be on TVA and would be able to sell power back to them.
    The total coast of my system would be close to 65k installed that is more then I want to spend even with the 30% tax credit. I could shave that cost down some by doing the install my self but I just have too many things going on and don’t have the time to invest now.

  64. Avatar for Ike Ike says:

    GOOD NEWS fellow Tennesseans for anyone who has thought about going solar but was shocked at the cost and the lack of help from county, state and federal governments. Federal Bill HR 1424 (the TARP bill) has provisions to change the small $2,000 federal tax credit that was given in previous years to a 30% tax credit of the INSTALLED costs a renewable energy system. I read the bill today and it seems to include residential systems.

    I have been loosely tracking solar panel systems for residential use for about a year. My intent is to install a system on my roof (the back of my house is directly south facing) and have been pricing the materials to see if it is even feasible for a solar panel system to pay for itself in 5 years or so.

    The Guesstimate for the materials for 2000w system (no battery storage) is around $13,000 but I will have to install the system and get a licensed electrician to hook up the inverter and other miscellaneous electrical services and permits. That will push it up to around $15,000 complete. The problem is that without batteries and without net metering from the local utility company, I’m not getting a good bang for my buck. I will run the numbers and see if this type renewable energy system even makes sense for my location and on-grid energy costs.

    And YES, no help from MLGW but unlike the previous comments above, energy is cheap in Memphis thanks to MLGW so don’t give them too much criticism. My brother lives in Texas in the same size house as mine and he pays nearly twice as much per Kilowatt as we do.

    So here we have it. 30 percent off your next 2009 year taxes if you invest in a renewable energy system that WORKS (how they verify that it works I have no idea). That’s about all the help we Tennesseans are going to see for awhile so if you’re in the market for renewable energy, this is your chance to run the numbers and see if renewable energy is worth it!

    PS, for all the tree-huggers who will probably want to respond in some GREEN way to my self-centered diatribe shown above, please do so with positive comments and suggestions as that is what this website is about. Have a nice day!

  65. Avatar for Earl Earl says:

    Solar power incentives in TN are going to be hard to get do to us not having state taxes. I know it would be nice if we could get some kind of county or city property tax brake but in all reality property tax in TN compared to say Fla. is not that much. I would say I pay ½ the taxes here that I paid in Fla and I only paid county taxes in Fla here I pay both city and county.
    At best it would be great if we could get net metering here. The only way we are going to accomplish this is if we work together to make it happen. We need to let the tax incentives go for the time being and work together to get net metering here in TN only after we have accomplished this will we passably be able to work towards tax incentives at the local level.
    Now let me start by saying I’m not a web site expert so I will need to do some more research on web hosting but we need to get a web site started with a good message forum to help support our cause. A place ware we can all come to keep each other motivated on accomplishing our goal. I have done some quick research on starting a web site and it will cost around $200 to get it up and running so I have to decide if I can do that now. Maybe we can find a solar power massage board already out there that would suite our needs.
    Next we need to type up a down loadable form with some of our key points on why we want net metering and why it is important to help increase the use of residential alternative energy sources.
    From here we would need to get our family friend every one we know to send the form to the TN senators and congressmen. We may not even want to stop there we could also send it to the more localized government like the governor and the mayors of the cities.
    We have to do this over and over again we need to get a list of names on a potion so that we can prove that there is a substantial number of supporters in TN that want this to happen so that they have to take notice. I will start a new e-mail account for this and post it here for those who may be interested in this and maybe we can get a movement started in TN towards cleaner power.

  66. Avatar for Jason Jason says:

    Comment on June 11th, 2008.

    Why should the government offer incentives any way. If you want to use solar go for it. If you can’t and don’t like the idea of good clean coal – turn off your lights and AC and truley live in the19century

    Andrew, you are as clueless as it gets!
    The Government gives billions to big energy companies that do nothing but give it to their CEOs as huge multi-million dollar bonuses (think TVA, Exxon,etc..) Why not invest that same money in local green power (Oh yeah, greed, corruption, stupid people like you that believe what your told)
    CLEAN COAL DOES NOT EXIST and never will! It is another catch phrase to humor STUPID PEOPLE!!!(like Andrew)
    Fact is, a lot of greedy CEOs and politician will have to die at the hands of the common person before anything will ever change in this country! Andrew probably thinks he still lives in a democracy. Funny, ain’t it.

  67. Avatar for Leanne Leanne says:

    We live in Shelby County and I agree with all that was said about the non-existent “green” policy here. Our elected officials would much rather embezzle funds. Is there any organized grass roots group here in Shelby county to keep pushing this idea? If so, I would like to be involved!

  68. Avatar for k k says:

    I am really sad I was so excited when I started researching solar power I guess this will not happen for my spouse and I. Way out of our working class budget

  69. Avatar for Ray Ray says:

    I am equally frustraited ,i have designed out a solar hybrid system to produce clean energy (much more than my home would use) and was looking at it like green with extra income potential and have found all the “gov red tape” that all you can get here in Tenn. is credit on your elec bill…lol they don’t even offer the “R.E.C.s here (renewable energy credits) to give anyone an incentive to spend the money to go green as they keep preaching about it publicly then hide from the issues of actually doing something about it ….i say if they are just lazy (or in big businesses pocket) move over and let us do something …So if anyone has any info on how i can circumvent them and get the credits that are sold or simply sell back to the grid OR have net metering here ,please email me the info ([email protected]),i know for 4 dollars they will sell you what they say is green energy but where does it come from and what is needed to do the same as the producers…in the cumberland elec co. system ,the energy director said one person (living in ashland city) of 98,000 has solar….1 in 98,000 can that be right? ,thank you.

  70. Avatar for Mike Mike says:

    Here in Memphis, MLG&W is a public owned utility.. of course this broke city isn’t going to do anything to prevent money from leaving our pocket and filling theirs. I am not sure but I believe TVA is publicly owned as well. I know MLG&W buys their energy from TVA and as of today (10-1-08) there is going to be a 20% rate increase.

  71. Avatar for Connie Connie says:

    I live in portland and am just as discouraged by the price we have a family with one income in order to help save money for our family and contribute to saving our planet we have to go broke to install a about the state help us help ourselves.But I guess that would be to good to be true since big buisness and the state/government have the most say.

  72. Avatar for Matt Matt says:

    What’s with the incredibly high estimates from this solar calculator on this and every other solar install website I hit?? I too hear all the time about $10,000 to $20,000 for an install, then this calculator keeps coughing up $60,000 (!!!!!) for a small system supplying half of small house energy needs. OK either all these news reports are wrong or this calculator is a unbelievably harmful POS that is actually DISCOURAGING everyone from going solar. Which is it?

  73. Avatar for Kevin Kevin says:

    Andrew: The state and Federal governments should offer an incentive because you’ve spent all of your money building your own energy system and no longer burn up all of the coal. Less coal, less emissions, less carbon footprint, less waste, less of everything bad. But something tells me you’re a non-believer.

  74. Avatar for Trey Trey says:

    Does anyone know the best way to find a contractor capable of sealing and weatherstripping an old house in Memphis. I know I can go to the phone book, but I wanted to find someone who knew what they were doing instead of throwing up some weatherstripping and saying it was done.

  75. Avatar for Ben Ben says:

    god what a frustrating state! i just moved to the nashville area from missouri (which wasn’t much better), and i am shocked to see how little concern there seems to be for sustainability and ecology here. my wife and i are actively looking for land to buy so we can build our eco-house… i am very sad to see that we won’t be getting any state help to make solar power financially feasible for us.

    well, i hear that over the next two years the cost of solar tech will drop dramatically, making it accessible to practically anyone… lets keep fingers crossed that corporations don’t hijack the tech and hold it back from the public for the sake of the bottom line and keeping investors happy… there is just too much at stake here!

  76. Avatar for Michael Michael says:


    First off, call up TVA and talk with someone from Generation Partners. I can’t give you names, because that would be rude of me. Size is limited too 0.5 to 50 kW AC. You can produce as much as you want. I also beleive that they are trying to put a bill through Senate that increases the Residential Solar and Fuel Cell Tax Credit from 2000, to 4000. I do some work as a newbie energy consultant. Email me and I can fill in some spreadsheets for you so you can see ROI and what not.

  77. Avatar for Andrew Andrew says:

    Why should the government offer incentives any way. If you want to use solar go for it. If you can’t and don’t like the idea of good clean coal – turn off your lights and AC and truley live in the 19century.

    1. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

      The government shouldn’t subsidize anything.

    2. Avatar for Bill Bill says:

      Exactly. If it is viable and “sustainable” (the REAL meaning) then the private sector would be all over it. I just heard that Siemens and Bosch are dropping their solar manufacturing. If those two can’t make a go of it, why should I bother?

  78. Avatar for Julio Julio says:

    I,ve got a question.
    To install a PV system in Teennessee state i,ve read you can subscribe “green power switch generation partners” throught TVA.
    This is my question:
    Can i install a PV system bigger than my home energy needs?
    If yes, can i sell all this energy to TVA?
    Thanks for all and sorry about my english, as you can see im not from USA, but im so interesting in solar energy market.

  79. Avatar for Jack Bishop Jack Bishop says:

    Tennessee was just rated one of the most wasteful energy states. I have been attempting to wake up our local elected officials in Memphis and Shelby County to the need for incentives for renewable energy sources. So far they have fallen on deaf ears. Like wise the our state government is still in the 19th century. I have proposed the Memphis Pyramid be converted to a solar power station. The all glass exterior is perfect. This could generate electricity that could be sold back to the grid creating a new revenue stream for local government. No go to our flat earth officials.

  80. Avatar for David Llorens David Llorens says:

    Hi Bill,

    Contact an Installer and get a quote. It won’t be much pain an suffering, and at least you’ll know for sure so you can make an informed decision if you want to do it or not. These numbers above aren’t 100% accurate, although they will be in the next two months or so.

  81. Avatar for Bill Hooker Bill Hooker says:

    I’m so frustrated!! I was inspired by watching a PBS broadcast the other night indicating the cost for installing solar for the average home was $15,000-$18,000. Now after reading your site it look to be about triple that cost.

    While I am interested in solar, the cost still seems prohibitive. Too bad our state offers no incentives and the federal government offers little as well. I was impressed with Germany’s efforts. The U.S. just lags behind, oblivious to what the world and science is telling us. It’s so sad…and maddening.

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