Knox County has dropped plans to put solar panels on top of schools and county owned buildings because the numbers didn’t work for the proposed plan. But there is a thriving solar farm on Asheville Highway.
The solar farm, which generates one megawatt of power, went in three years ago and was in operation before TVA cut back financial incentives. The farm, owned by Natural Energy Co., gets a total of 21 cents per kilowatt hour, making the project financially feasible.
TVA’s program now pays 10 cents per kilowatt hour, making the investments too costly for the return, according to a solar industry executive. States across the country are requiring utilities to promote green power but TVA is not regulated by any of the states in its service area so the agency decided to scale back the program.