Solar Big in Tenn., but Could be Bigger

Dec 9, 2011

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A report shows Tennessee's solar power and related industries provide more than 6,400 jobs and are helping put people back to work.

The report by the Tennessee Solar Institute shows the state ranks 22nd in installed solar power. The group says Tennessee needs to stay aggressive to compete with other states that have growing solar sectors.

The Institute’s Director of Programs, Dr. John Sanseverino, says solar’s cost-to-benefit ratio has finally reached the tipping point.

"They're offsetting their electric bills, they're gaining some revenue through the TVA Generation Partners program; payback periods anywhere from two, three to five or seven years. So people do see it as a long term business decision."

The institute says its grant programs have generated more than $40 million in private investments, with a total benefit of about $64 million to the state's economy.