The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a $622,960 grant to a team led by researchers from the University of Tennessee (UT), Tennessee Solar Institute, and the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy. The grant promotes partnerships with utilities and building officials across the state, to implement uniform standards for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. This grant is one of 22 awards announced by DOE as part of its Rooftop Solar Challenge.

The goal of UT’s project is to increase solar PV installations in Tennessee by reducing non-hardware costs associated with customer acquisition, permitting, inspection, installation, and interconnection. These costs currently comprise approximately 30 to 40 percent of the total installation cost of a rooftop PV system. Streamlining and developing uniform codes will significantly reduce the cost of installed PV.

With funds from this award, the UT team will work with multiple local governments and electrical distributors to address these issues. In partnership with UT, others who have committed resources for this project include the Tennessee Valley Authority, the City of Knoxville, the City of Franklin, Metro Nashville, Memphis/Shelby County, the Knoxville Utility Board, Nashville Electric Service, Memphis Light Gas and Water, and the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation.

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