Green Power Providers

What is Green Power Providers?
TVA has developed a long-term, sustainable renewable energy program known as Green Power Providers. This program offers consumers, businesses and industries across the Tennessee Valley the option to build renewable generation with a maximum project size of less than 50 kilowatts (kW) in size.

Green Power Providers replaces the successful Generation Partners pilot program that was initiated in 2003.  Green Power Providers implements industry best practices to continue helping add sustainable solar and renewable energy in the Tennessee Valley.  The new program offers several advantages, including longer term contracts and a "fast track" process for smaller systems.

Through innovative renewable energy programs like Green Power Providers, TVA & PES are putting a vision of low-cost and cleaner energy into action.  Green Power Providers will benefit TVA & PES consumers because it aligns renewable generation payments with those who voluntarily support renewable energy through TVA's Green Power Switch program.   

What are the benefits for the participants of Green Power Providers?
Program participants support the environment by helping keep the Tennessee Valley clean and green. For example, a 3-kilowatt (kW) system's annual benefits are equal to planting an acre of trees or taking a car off the road for 4 months. In addition, solar systems help improve air quality by reducing emissions of fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide. They also benefit by defraying the costs of their renewable system installation and lowering their monthly energy bills through the revenue they receive from the sale of the green power. TVA likes to call Green Power Providers a Win-Win-Win for the end-use customer, PES and TVA.

How does the program work?
Below is an overview of how the program works:

•    Homeowner or business should contact PES before buying a renewable generation system to be sure the system selected participates in the GPP Program.  If your system is a participant you should read the program guidelines, apply for interconnection to the power grid and, once approved, sign interconnection and participation agreement with PES  

•    Once the participation agreement is signed with PES, TVA provides final approval of the agreement and your premium is locked-in for a full 10 years of the 20-year agreement. Now you can go ahead and buy an eligible renewable generation system.

•    The generating system must be installed and approved by PES within 180 days of TVA's approval of the Participation Agreement. Solar and wind installations approved by TVA in Calendar Year 2013 must be installed by a renewable energy professional with entry level North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (www.nabcep.org).  The system must comply with environmental regulations and national standards, be certified by a licensed electrician, and comply with all applicable codes.

•    PES will complete a system/site review and, if the system passes inspection, submit the System Acceptance Form (SAF) to TVA.  The qualifying form must be sent to TVA within 10 business days.

•    TVA will buy the green energy output at the retail electricity rates plus a premium rate for a full 10 years of the 20 year agreement. For the remainder of the agreement term, TVA will purchase the green energy output at retail rate only.  TVA will retain the RECs for the full 20 year agreement term.  Once the system is generating, qualifying participants will receive an additional $1,000 to help offset start-up costs.

What resources are eligible for the program?
Eligible resources include solar, wind, low-impact hydropower, and biomass.  Biomass includes all solid, liquid, and gaseous forms of the following fuels:

•    All woody waste
•    All agricultural crops or waste
•    All animal or other organic waste
•    All energy crops
•    Landfill gas and wastewater methane
Go to the Renewable Energy Resources page to learn more about each technology.

What size renewable systems are eligible for the Generation Partners program?
To maintain consistency among TVA offerings and to provide consumers with a standard offer, the minimum size for all eligible generation systems (DC) is 500 watts and the maximum size is 50 kilowatts (kW). Systems greater than 10 kilowatts in size will be subject to a load requirement, meaning the system's maximum capacity will be limited so that it should not generate more than 100% of the energy usage or consumption at the home or business.  Size increases will be subject to available program capacity in the given year and the entire modified capacity (kW) will be subject to load requirements.  Systems larger than 50 kW may qualify for the Renewable Standard Offer. For more information visit http://www.tva.gov/renewablestandardoffer/. 

How safe are these systems?
All interconnection and safety equipment must be tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory for continuous interactive operation with an electric distribution system in compliance with IEEE 1547 (Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems), IEEE 1547.1 (Standard Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems), and UL 1741 (Inverters, Converters, and Controllers for use in Independent Power Systems). In addition, all systems must be manufactured and installed in compliance with the National Electric Code (NEC). Systems must be permitted and certified by a licensed electrician along with passing all applicable code inspections.

Having your system meet these national standards means that your system is very safe. In addition to these national standards, Green Power Providers requires an outside lockable disconnect device that provides additional security and peace of mind in the event of a power outage. The lockable disconnect device must be accessible by personnel from PES, who have the ability and authority to lock out the power from the grid via the disconnect device.

How were the CY2013 premiums of $0.09 for solar and $0.03 for all other renewables determined?
TVA looked at the incentives from several perspectives:

TVA

•    Current Renewable Energy Credit Markets
•    Purchasing emission allowances for potential RPS scenarios
•    Cost to build and own renewable resources

Customer

•    Comparison to current incentives
•    Rate of return and payback analysis

Why are there different premiums for the various renewable sources?
Solar systems receive a higher premium than other projects. This recognizes that solar systems cannot be successful under the same premium for other renewable sources. The cost of installing solar energy is generally much more expensive than other renewable technologies. All premiums will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

How much will the generation system cost?
For an average size solar system, 1.5 kilowatts to 2 kilowatts, a customer can expect to pay on average $8 - $10 per watt for parts and installation. An average size wind turbine system averages $2 to $4 per watt for equipment, plus the cost of installation. There are several factors that must be taken into consideration when pricing either solar or wind systems, such as federal and state tax credits and rebates.

For example, a 2 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) installation averages 200 kWh per month or roughly $44 per month Generation Credit:
200kWh X $0.22/kWh (average retail rate of $0.10 + solar premium $0.12) = $44

In comparison, a 10 kW solar PV installation would average $220 per month Generation Credit.

Are there ways to help pay for installations?

•    Federal Tax Credits (subtracted from total tax liability, as opposed to tax deduction)

o    Solar – 30% Residential & Commercial  tax credit with no cap through 12/31/2016
o    Wind – Maximum system size of 100kW.  30% tax credit

•    For systems placed in service in 2008, the maximum credit is $500 per  half-kilowatt, not to exceed $4,000.
•    There is no limit to the  amount that can be claimed for systems placed in use after 2008 because  the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 removed a previous cap.
•    State Tax Credits – varies by state
•    Property Tax Credits – varies by state
•    Additional information regarding federal and state incentives is available at the DSIRE website at www.dsireusa.org.
•    $1000 TVA Incentive
•    Financing for solar installations may be available. 


What are the specific connection requirements?

Each customer must submit a completed interconnection application to PES. PES will determine whether the project can be fast-tracked or if the project must undergo a feasibility study process to determine the impacts on the distribution system. The interconnection application and other documentation specifying specific connection requirements can be obtained by contacting Kirby Parr at PES.

In the event of a power outage, will I be able to supply power to my home?
In order to be a participant in Green Power Providers, the system must be connected to and generate power to the grid. Each installation must have a grid-tied inverter that synchronizes the power generated with the utility grid, and also prevents electricity or generation from flowing to the grid during an outage. The condition where an inverter continues to electrify the grid during an outage is called islanding. For the safety of line workers, inverters must stop sending generation to the grid when there is a grid failure. This is a serious concern for utilities because they do not want any utility lines to be energized while they are trying to fix the cause of the power outage.

It is recommended and suggested in the Interconnection and Parallel Operation Agreement (supporting documentation for the Participation Agreement) that the participant must install a manual, lockable, visible load break disconnect switch between the generation facility and the distribution system. The participant must also ensure that the manual disconnect is readily accessible to the power company.

As a result, Green Power Providers participants will not be able to supply power to their homes during the event of an outage due to safety concerns and should discuss other outage options with their local power company.