The solar arrays that were installed on The Farm in 2010 are an interesting example of the New Farm and its mixed of collective and private economy. It is also a prime illustration of how we all share in the many achievements of the community, even though we as individuals may not be directly involved.
Unlike other states such as California, Tennessee only provides rebates and incentives to businesses that install solar panels for generating power, not individuals or private homes. The arrays currently in the community are connected to privately owned businesses.
This 58 Kilowatt system for the Mail Order Catalog will produce more power than the business consumes, generating income as well as electricity.
SEI and its employees supplied the investment capital to purchase the 17.5 KW system powering their business.
Both businesses were able to take advantage of State and Federal programs to help offset the cost of installation.
The two arrays function as “grid tie” systems supplying power directly into the TVA electrical power lines. Installed meters keep track of the amount of power generated. TVA is currently paying a premium price for power generated by solar, double what it charges consumers for coal fired electricity. A contract with TVA guarantees that price for the next several years, allowing the investors to recoup their money in 5-7 years.
Although private investors provided the capital and will reap the financial benefits from the solar installations, the community provided the ground on which they stand and all residents will share in the visible statement and commitment to alternative energy these systems represent.