City Receives Grant for Solar Technology

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
kfarley@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Receives Grant for Solar Technology

Posted: 03/28/2008
The City of Knoxville has been selected as one of 12 Solar America Cities by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and will receive a grant of $200,000 plus technical assistance to increase use of solar technology.

DOE Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced the winning cities for 2008 today at an energy conference in Denver.

The Solar America winners - which ranged from large municipal areas like Denver, Philadelphia and Houston to mid-sized cities like Knoxville and Orlando - are working to make solar power a competitive energy alternative in their cities.

"We're really excited that the Department of Energy has selected Knoxville to be a 2008 Solar City," said Madeleine Weil, deputy director of the city's Policy & Communications Department. "We've got a great project team set up to help mainstream solar power in Knoxville."

Project partners include TVA, KUB, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the TN Department of Economic and Community Development, the Public Building Authority, Knoxville Area Transit and Ijams Nature Center.

Weil also chairs the city's Energy and Sustainability Task Force. The recommendation to pursue a 2008 Solar America Cities grant emerged from this effort.

In addition to the funding, DOE will also provide technical assistance to help the selected cities build local capacity to facilitate the use of solar technology. Depending on local needs, DOE assistance may include anything from assessing planning and zoning practices to developing financing opportunities to evaluating potential sites for solar installations.

TVA has committed to matching the DOE's $200,000 grant with an additional $100,000 over the 2-year project period.

"TVA is proud to be a part of this strong partnership to further development of clean energy resources," said TVA Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response, Joe Hoagland. "This grant funding will help advance solar technology opportunities, and position Knoxville to be a leader in that regard."

The city and other project partners will contribute in-kind services and staff support.

Weil said the city's goal "is to create a sustainable solar infrastructure in Knoxville."

To this end, Knoxville will use the Solar America Cities grant and technical assistance to reduce barriers to solar deployment in four main areas: informational, technical, financial and business development.

Specifically, the proposed activities include:

Developing high-visibility solar installations with educational components in the city's new energy-efficient downtown transit station and in a near zero-energy house in the South Waterfront District. The educational exhibit about solar energy at Ijams Nature Center will also be improved. Developing training related to solar technologies and installations for inspectors, codes officials and energy contractors. Publicizing renewable energy incentive and resource programs available through TVA, state and federal programs. Conducting a survey of renewable energy and energy-efficiency businesses in Knoxville and East Tennessee to learn more about the business impediments they face and how they could be surmounted.