Archive for the ‘Solar News’ Category

Interested in learning about solar energy? Visit Colorado Solar!

Colorado Solar Screenshot
While we feel there is a fair amount of helpful information right here on Solar Knoxville, we don’t hesitate to borrow or share with other helpful organizations.  A visitor to the Solar Knoxville website recommended that we share a helpful resource he found while conducting online research.  The resource is a website called Colorado Solar.  While many of the stories on Colorado Solar contain Colorado-specific information, there is also a wealth of diagrams, policies, and technical information that is valuable to individuals, organizations, and government entities located anywhere.   Have a look around, and send comments, feedback, or other ideas you think would improve Solar Knoxville and benefit the solar community.

I will also add a link to our own Resources page for perpetuity.


Solar Plane” to Travel Across US Without Consuming Jet Fuel

Solar Impulse” is the name of the solar-powered plane that will travel from coast to coast in the United States without consuming any fuel.  The aircraft is covered in 12,000 photovoltaic cells, and traveling through a number of cities to increase awareness of the value and potential of solar energy.  Check out the link below.

Solar plane leaves Calif. on cross-country trip » Knoxville News Sentinel.

AP/Tony Avelar

SunShot Initiative: Plug-and-Play Photovoltaics

SunShot Initiative: Plug-and-Play Photovoltaics.

DOE is funding two solar projects that are developing innovative plug-and-play photovoltaic (PV) systems that can be purchased, installed, and operational in one day. Part of the SunShot Systems Integration efforts, these projects will help drive innovations to fundamentally change the design and installation of residential PV systems, reducing costs for homeowners and simplifying installation and grid connectivity.

On December 7, 2012, DOE announced $21 million to fund these projects.


Fraunhofer USA, Inc., Center for Sustainable Energy Systems
Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Develop technologies, components, systems, and standards that enable a homeowner to easily select the right-sized PV system for their house, purchase a configured system, install the system on their rooftop with minimal help, wire the system safely with preconfigured cabling, and connect it to an existing PV-ready smart meter. The utility will remotely grant permission to the system to connect, and the PV system will immediately start to produce power that can be consumed in the house or fed into the distribution grid.

North Carolina State University FREEDM Systems Engineering Center
Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Perform analysis, design, and innovation to address each stage in the value chain of grid-interactive residential PV systems while taking a broader systems perspective encompassing the PV supply chain, codes and standards, regulations, inspection, and marketability. This project will substantially reduce the unit cost of installed residential solar PV systems by creating standard components and system designs that require little or no custom engineering, can be installed and connected to the grid efficiently, and meet refined building and electrical codes.

DOE is funding these projects to reach the aggressive goals of the SunShot Initiative.

Knoxville firm wins $2M DOE grant » Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville firm wins $2M DOE grant » Knoxville News Sentinel.

Grant funds will be used to research one of the barriers to making renewables competitive with nuclear and coal.

Big name brands embrace solar power | Sunetric

Big name brands embrace solar power | Sunetric.

City of Knoxville Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Now that the City of Knoxville’s electric vehicle charging stations are installed, I will be adding images of the various locations that feature EVSE.  If you have pictures of your electric vehicle or of an electric vehicle using one of these stations, email it to me (City of Knoxville Office of Sustainability Project Manager) or call 865–215-2065 and I’ll add it!  All of these charging stations are free to electric vehicle owners through the end of 2012.

Knoxville Green Rebate Incentive Program Results

The City of Knoxville’s Green Rebate Incentive Program ended earlier this spring, but the financial savings for the 365+ applicants are ongoing.  The EECBG-funded program was created by the City of Knoxville Office of Sustainability and administered by Knox CAC Housing and Energy Services. It provided rebates to applicants who made energy efficient upgrades to their buildings and installed either energy-efficient appliances or Solar Photovoltaic arrays on their facilities.  The program was open to residential, commercial and non-profit facilities.

In total, the Green Rebate Incentive Program helped install within the City of Knoxville 357 Energy Star appliances and 10 Solar PV systems with a total capacity of 76.24 kilowatts.  We thank all of you who applied.

For more information on ways reduce your monthly energy bill, visit our guide on this site:


Do cheap imported panels help or hurt the solar industry in the United States?

Controversy over imported solar panels, particularly from China, has been growing.  This article appeared on NPR this morning.  Some say cheap, imported panels increase the number of systems installed in the United States.  Others say they reduce the number of American panel manufacturers.  What do you think? Check out the article and start a discussion below.

Cheap Chinese Panels Spark Power Trade War

Tennessee Solar Institute receives Rooftop Solar Challenge Grant

The Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI) was selected as one of 22 regional teams to receive funds from the Department of Energy to improve the efficiency and reduce costs to the process of installing solar on homes and businesses.  TSIwill receive $622,960 and will partner with local building officials to implement model permitting, interconnection, and net metering standards. The team will also develop an integrated smartphone/tablet app to guide individuals through the application process.  The University of Tennessee is partnering with the Tennessee Valley Authority; The City of Knoxville, the City of Franklin, Metro Nashville, Memphis/Shelby County; Knoxville Utilities Board; Nashville Electric Service; Memphis Light Gas & Water; and Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Co-op.  More details and the full list of awardees can be found at

TVA Renewable Energy Program Update

TVA is planning to restructure their Renewable Energy Program. One of the approved changes is the transformation of the Generation Partners Pilot Program into the permanent status Green Power Providers.  The new program will offer an extended customer contract length of twenty years–ten years longer than the current contract length.  However, in year eleven of the contract, TVA will no longer pay a premium for the power provided.  TVA is also developing a program for large scale solar installations that will kickoff in January.  More details can be found at