On Tuesday, EPB launched Solar Share to make renewable energy more easily accessible to all its customers.
EPB partnered with TVA to establish a solar facility along Holtzclaw Avenue across from Warner Park. The facility's 4,408 solar panels can generate up to 1.3 megawatts of power, which is enough energy to meet the average needs of 130 homes.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tennessee, touted the relationship among EPB, TVA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
"We are seeing today with Solar Share the benefits of [these partnerships]," he said. "Working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Solar Share gives EPB a new avenue to serve as America’s living laboratory in the development of best practices for using an advanced smart grid to dynamically manage the variability of solar power generation."
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Solar Share is about education in Hamilton County. It's a way for students in STEM schools to see this technology in person and see that there is an effort being made for renewable energy in our community, he said.
"It's important to have these different learning opportunities for our [students]," Coppinger said. "Students in several schools have already been engaged with imagining new ways to put the sun’s energy to work."
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said Solar Share is aiding in the city's desire for innovation. He said innovation is about finding creative solutions to the problems we face and that Solar Share begins to solve the need for clean and renewable energy.
"Today we are here because EPB has decided to locally source electrical power to people in the community and take them off the coal fire grid," Berke said. "Chattanooga is stronger today because of visionary leaders who realized decades ago the importance of cleaning up our environment."
The new program is open to any EPB customer. The program has three ways a resident can buy into the program. Click here to see the plans.
EPB President and CEO David Wade said Solar Share is a way for customers to utilize EPB's energy expertise and gain access to solar power in a way that meets their needs or budget.
"With decades of experience in constructing and managing our community’s electrical infrastructure, EPB is able to provide customers with worry-free renewable energy solutions," he said. "It’s affordable because you share the cost among all the participants, but you get to fully enjoy the benefits without having to worry about construction, maintenance or liability."
For more information about Solar Share, click here.
For background on the project, click here.
Eric Wise is a contributing writer. He is currently attending UTC, where he is the assistant news editor for the school newspaper, The University Echo. He also serves as the alumni relations chairman for his fraternity.