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Fact Sheet: Solar Energy Use in Tennessee

Tennessee has a well-earned reputation for its critical role in the country's music scene, with historically creative hot spots such as Nashville and Memphis. Additionally, the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi river along the state's western border are natural wonders worthy of protection. With these national treasures, Tennessee has a lot to gain from investing in solar power. Today the state has begun to build a strong solar energy industry and provides numerous solar incentives for interested homeowners.
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CC-PD-Mark, source: WikipediaWhile Tennessee has had a somewhat irregular history of solar power, the state is starting to establish much more stable solar incentives. The government-owned company Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is paving the way for a sustainable solar industry with generous net metering laws. Many other solar companies have also launched ambitious solar power projects. Read on to find out more about these solar incentives and decide if a solar energy system is right for you.

Grid Connected Solar Power Systems in Tennessee (2012)

  • Residential Solar Power Systems: NA
  • Non-Residential Solar Power Systems: 0.2 Megawatt
  • Utility: 22.8
  • Total: 23.0 Megawatt
  • Cumulative: 45.0 Megawatt

With 75 MW of solar energy currently installed, Tennessee ranks 19th in the country in installed solar capacity. The state has enough solar energy to power 7,100 homes.

Cost of Electricity in Tennessee

  • Electricity Price: $0.09 per kWh
  • Average Electricity Bill: $159.00
  • Average Bill after Solar: $68

Electricity prices in Tennessee are some of the lowest in the country. While these prices may look promising, low electricity costs can indicate a heavy reliance on fossil fuel. Solar energy is not only much more sustainable than fossil fuel, it can also seriously cut down monthly electricity bills. Average monthly payments for leased solar systems in Tennessee are around $48, saving homeowners around $43 each month. In general, it takes about 8 years for solar energy systems in the state to pay for themselves.

Solar Radiation

Average solar radiation in Tennessee is between 2 and 3 kilowatt per day in the eastern half of the state and between 3 and 4 kilowatt per day in the western half. This amount represents an area of 1 square meter (10.76 square foot). An annual average of 210 sunny or partly sunny days gives the state plenty of sun for successful solar energy systems.

State Solar Incentives and Rebate Programs

  • State Solar Tax Credit: None
  • State Solar Rebate: None
  • Property Tax Exemption: Solar property assessed value may not exceed 12.5% of total installed costs
  • Sales Tax Exemption: 100%

While Tennessee does not currently have any statewide rebate programs, the Tennessee Valley Authority offers an excellent solar energy rebate program. For photovoltaic systems with an alternating output between 500 W and 200 kW, the TVA will purchase 100 percent of the energy at $0.12 per kWh, in the form of credits on power bills. TVA also offers periodic payments for excess credits homeowners earn. Additionally, the Federal Tax Credit applies.

Solar Installers in Tennessee

Tennessee does not currently require solar installers to have a license at the state level. Homeowners interested in researching the license of their solar installer should check with their local municipality. License information for solar installers in Nashville can be found on the city's website.

Summary: Potential for Solar Power Systems

While the state government is still behind in establishing certain solar incentives, independent solar companies in Tennessee have made a solid foundation for solar power on their own. Additionally, the state's property and sales tax exemptions create considerable savings for homeowners interested in helping Tennessee's solar industry grow. To calculate your costs and savings, please use our Solar Calculator , or contact solar installers in your area.

Fact Sheet Solar Energy Use in TennesseeSolar Energy Fact Sheet: Tennessee, ©

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Written by: Oliver Behrla, Editor