Elizabethon bank gets solar

Security Federal Bank in Northeast Tennessee’s Elizabethton is putting the final touches on a 10 kilowatt solar system—the first in Carter County. The 42-panel photovoltaic system is expected to be up and generating electricity by next week.

The bank decided to install a solar system in 2009, according to a release, as part of an improvement project to replace the roof and make other energy efficient measures at its Main Branch location.  Asheville-based FLS Energy, which installed the system, worked with the customer to obtain a state grant award, which, combined with federal incentives and a small revenue stream from TVA, brought the payback period to five years compared to a 10-year payback without the incentives.

Big breeze blowing TVA’s way

TVA’s announcement that it has plugged into its first of seven contracts for wind power could be a pretty big deal. TVA is trying to confirm what appears to be the largest single wind power purchase agreement in the country. Through the 20-year contract, TVA is buying 300 megawatts of power from Iberdrola Renewables, which is piping the power from its Streator Cayuga Ridge wind park in Livingston County, Ill. The facility has been built exclusively for TVA’s needs, according to a company fact sheet.

The contract is the largest of TVA’s agreements with outside providers of wind-generated power, which add up to 1,380 megwatts. And the Iberdola installation is the largest wind park in Illinois, according to the company.

TVA “turned the switch on” Tuesday, Bradley said, with no problems so far in delivery of the renewable power. TVA, along with other electricity providers, is learning how to incorporate the energy source into a portfolio that is made up of more traditional sources including coal and nuclear plants.

The next tranche of wind power to come online will be 115 megawatts scheduled to arrive this fall from Horizon Wind Energy LLC’s Pioneer Prairie wind farm in Howard and Mitchell counties in Iowa.

ET high school project produces wind towers

The Morgan County Career and Technical Center is installing a 2.4 kilowatt wind turbine mounted to a 112-foot tall tower designed and built by high school students at the center. The installation will be used to train students at the center, which last year put up a 3 kilowatt turbine on an 118-foot tower built by students as well as a solar panel display.

The first project was funded by a grant from Heraeus Metals to install the wind turbine and solar panels at the school. Shortly afterward, they were awarded a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to continue their work and expand to other schools nearby.

For full release… Continue reading

Franklin proposes mandating LEED

Tennessee hasn’t exactly been on the cutting edge when it comes to green building code, but the Tennessean reports the city of Franklin is looking to require municipal construction to conform, at a minimum, to silver LEED standards. The green construction guidelines and certification process are managed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Nashville and Georgetown have similar requirements, according to the story.

Sharp getting (more) serious about solar

Yesterday, Sharp Electronics, which makes photovoltaics at its Memphis manufacturing plant, unveiled an 800-panel, 150 kilowatt array—the largest in the state. Here’s the story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Gen-Xers not so green?

So much for the younger generation leading the way. Here’s an interesting blog post by Knoxville advertising firm the Shelton Group about how, and why, 30-and-40-somethings aren’t necessarily as green as their baby boomer parents.

(In the interest of full disclosure, my husband works for Shelton.)

UT Solar Decathalon bound

For the first time, a University of Tennessee team will be competing in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathalon. The event brings together teams of college students from across the country to design and build a solar-powered abode. Here’s more about UT’s effort, the beginnings of which I wrote about last year in an article covering, among other green university initiatives, the UT Zero Energy House project. The effort, led by UT’s School of Architecture, was designed to evolve into a decatholon entry. The house is on display in the Humanities Plaza on the Knoxville campus. Good luck, guys!