Solar Advocates Say TVA Ignores Them At Its Peril

TVA has approved hundreds of small solar projects in recent years, but with some programs like its Solar Solutions Initiative filling up and having to turn away applications, critics argue the agency could do more to incentivize solar. Image via TVA Web Team / flickr

TVA has approved hundreds of small solar projects in recent years, but with some programs like its Solar Solutions Initiative filling up and having to turn away applications, critics argue the agency could do more to incentivize solar. Image via TVA Web Team / flickr

Advocates for solar energy are looking to bend the ear of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  TVA is reassessing its long-range plan for different ways it will produce power, and an agency spokesman notes in recent years solar has gotten a lot cheaper.

The solar push comes as TVA’s new CEO is halfway into his first year, and as federal officials discuss selling off the massive agency.  With so much change afoot, Karl Rábago thinks TVA could rework how it measures the costs and benefits of solar.

The one-time federal energy official and Texas public utility commissioner says when people install their own solar panels, they’re making an investment in infrastructure.  Rábago admits it’s a small one, but not one TVA can afford to dismiss.

“You know, it’s not even a rounding error in the business model of something like TVA, but you ignore all that could happen at the peril of the financial health of the organization.”

Rábago will meet with agency officials in Knoxville tomorrow, along with the head of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a longtime TVA watchdog.


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