Study points out deficiencies in Tennessee solar policies

Solar panels

Tennessee is one of the worst solar states in nation, report says

Tennessee’s rooftop solar energy policies leave much to be desired, according to a recent report from the Center for Biological Diversity.

The report examined the current state of solar power in the United States, broken down by state. Deep analysis of each state’s current solar energy policies and practices brought some clear winners to the forefront and sent some clear losers clinging to the bottom of the list. Tennessee did not fare well in the study, and will likely need to overhaul its solar policies to turn things around and head back up the list in a positive direction.

The ten worst solar states in the U.S.

In the study, the Center for Biological Diversity highlighted regions that are “blocking distributed solar potential through overtly lacking and destructive distributed solar policy,” and targeted 10 states in particular — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), that group of ten states owns more than a third (35 percent) of the total rooftop solar energy potential in the contiguous U.S., but accounts for just 6 percent of the total installed distributed solar capacity as of March 2016. The top ten solar states in the U.S., on the other hand, account for 86 percent of the total solar capacity in the U.S. So there’s big gap to fill and there are a lot of opportunities to fill that gap.

Tennessee gets an “F”

The Center for Biological Diversity used different criteria to assign a grade to each state, and Tennessee was among the list of states that failed. The grading criteria included the analysis of different policies and regulations that work to either encourage or discourage solar energy development in the state.

The problem is Tennessee is clear: the government has done next to nothing when it comes to solar energy. The state has no community solar laws, no solar access laws and has no net metering program in place.

Net metering is system in which owners of residential (usually rooftop) solar installations are compensated by state utilities for unused electrical power generated by their solar arrays. Currently, at least 43 U.S. states have net metering in place in some capacity.

The lack of a net metering program is noteworthy here in 2016, as the vast majority of states have some type of net metering program in place. The lack of any net metering program at all is a good indicator that the state has put very little attention and devoted very few resources to rooftop solar power in recent years.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, huge, far-reaching changes would need to be made in order for solar power to be a viable option for state residents any time soon.

Source → Center for Biological Diversity