For Solar Installations in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Territory
How would you like to be paid to produce electricity?
That’s what the Green Power Providers program makes possible if you get your power from one of the TVA’s participating local power companies.
Instead of net metering, they call it “dual metering.” With net metering, your solar energy system powers your home or business, and any excess energy is sold back to the grid. Or, if you need more energy than your solar panels produce, the power grid provides it.
With “dual metering,” you actually have two meters installed on site. One is for your usage, which gets billed like it always has. The other monitors the kWh your solar panels produce, and you get paid for all of it at the retail rate per kWh.
So, if your solar panels produce 1000 kWh a month, and the rate for that year is $0.10 per kWh, then you’d be credited with $100. That money would directly offset your power bill. (For help determining how big of a solar system you need to produce a certain amount of power, visit this page about the PV Watts calculator).
How is the GPP different from a normal solar panel installation, even one without net metering? With Green Power Providers, your panels aren’t actually powering your home at all. You are selling 100% of the electricity you generate. The advantage of this is that nothing gets wasted.
With normal solar panels, if your system produces more than you need in a particular month, the excess goes unused (unless you have a solar battery storage system ). With Green Power Providers, all your solar energy gets used, every month, and you get paid for all of it. It’s full compensation for 100% of the power you produce.
Here’s the process for taking advantage of the Green Power Providers option
1. Contact your local power company.
Make sure they have a partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Again, the list of participating utilities can be found here. If yours isn’t on the list, you can ask them to initiate a partnership. The worst that can happen is they say ‘no.’ And in that case, ask them how they work with people who install solar panels, because producing your own energy will save you lots of money either way.
Also – if you are outside the TVA territory, you might be in the territory of another utility that offers a similar program. See this page for more local solar incentive programs and tax savings.
2. Read the GPP guidelines (found here)
You want to be sure your system will comply with their requirements, as well as the requirements of your local power company. If you need help with this, have a solar installation expert help you.
3. Fill out their online application
They do have different applications if you live in new construction (less than 1 year), or if you already have some solar capacity but want to increase it.
4. Once you get approved by the TVA and your power company, review and sign the agreement.
5. Purchase and install your solar energy system.
One of their requirements here is that your solar power system must be installed by a professional-level or associate-level certified NABCEP installer. Coastal Solar has Keith Freeman, a professional-level certified installer, and he has over 20 years of experience with solar installations.
You have 180 business days from the date of approval to get your system installed and approved.
6. Once installed, get it approved by your local power company
7. Start producing energy, and start getting paid.
Some Green Power Providers Requirements and Tips
The GPP program works with solar installations between 500W and 50kW. For residences installing less than 10kW, they have a fast-track program. But they only accept 10 megawatts for the year across their territory, with 5MW of that allocated to residences, and the other 5MW to commercial.
The program accepts applications for about 11 months, from mid-January through mid-December. They do have a wait list if more than 5MW gets reserved in either category, but to be sure you don’t end up there, get your application in before summer ends.
Also, for systems under 10kW, the residence must use at least 1000kWh per year. This is no problem for any home where people live. A typical residence uses several hundred kWh per month.
For systems between 10 and 50kW, there is a “load requirement,” which means your solar panels cannot produce more than 100% of the energy you’re using at that site. To be sure you don’t install too big a system, they have a handy chart estimating the size of solar systems that will produce various amounts of energy.
If you live in Georgia, the counties served by the Tennessee Valley Authority include: Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Towns, Union, Walker, and Whitfield.
This is just 3% of the TVA’s overall territory. They are also in Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and of course Tennessee.
So if you live in any of those states and think you might be within the region on the map you saw earlier, contact your local power company today and see if they are part of the Green Power Providers program.
Then, find a solar installer that has professional-level certification from the NABCEP, like Coastal Solar, and start looking into what kind of solar installation is best at your location.
Saving Even More on Solar
Remember, Green Power Providers is just one financial incentive for going solar. You can also cut your entire installation costs by huge margins (minimum 30%) because of federal and local tax incentives.
With lowered installation costs from these rebates combined with getting paid to produce power, your solar energy system will pay for itself in just a few years, not decades like it used to be.
(And again, if you’re not in the TVA’s territory, see this page for similar programs in other areas)