Tennessee will use Recovery Act SEP funding to establish a comprehensive solar energy and economic development program, focusing on job creation, education, renewable power production, and technology commercialization. Building upon current efforts, this program will stimulate short-term economic growth while positioning the state to support long-term expansion of the solar industry. Recovery Act SEP funds will enable the state to accelerate national market transformation in a manner that will create jobs and ensure a clean energy future. Specifically, Tennessee will use its Recovery Act SEP funds to establish two grant programs. The first, the Solar Innovation Grant Program, will encourage growth of Tennessee's solar industry by providing funds to the state's solar industry firms for technical assistance, facility or process improvements, and workforce development. The second, the Solar Installation Grant Program, will speed the deployment of solar energy statewide through grants to businesses to fund the purchase and installation of small-scale solar photovoltaic systems. Both programs will be administered by the Tennessee Solar Institute (the Institute) at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Institute is a new initiative that will serve as a center for excellence for the state's solar industry. The net result of these Recovery Act-funded programs will be to advance solar technology, promote the use of renewable energy statewide, lower fossil fuel emissions, decrease the state's dependence on foreign oil, and create green jobs across Tennessee.
The state also plans to establish a West Tennessee Solar Farm with a 5 MW power generation facility. The Solar Farm will be comprised of approximately 22,300 panels and demonstrate a range of commercially available solar energy efficiency techniques and technologies.