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Green Power Switch News

Vol. 5, No. 1 — Winter / Spring 2005

 

Watching the meter run BACKWARD

The Genovesi family of Chattanooga flipped the switch on their solar-energy system last Christmas Eve. Over the next few weeks, even in the midst of a cold snap, they took great delight in watching their electric meter run backward at times, when the system generated more power than they were using.

The Genovesis are the first family in Chattanooga, and only the eighth in the TVA region, to join TVA’s GPS Generation Partners® program. The program supports small-scale green power generation by homeowners and small businesses. Any power generated is paid by TVA in the form of a credit on the local distributor’s monthly utility bill at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“Even though energy rates in Chattanooga are relatively low,” says Mrs. Genovesi, “we thought with the work we’re already doing on our house and the wonderful sun available on our lot, that this was the time to do it.” The house has 20 solar photovoltaic panels on the roof.

Although such solar systems are expensive to install and the payback period from energy savings is quite long, there are compensating benefits, says Stephen Smith, of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “These solar units add tremendously to the value of one’s home, and we think they are going to become much more popular in the future.”

Solar investments usually boost home values by at least 80 percent of their original cost, says Thomas Tripp, president of Big Frog Corporation, a regional supplier of renewable energy equipment. There’s also the satisfaction that comes from reducing the normal environmental load involved in home use of electricity. “A solar unit of this size should reduce by over 4,000 pounds a year the amount of greenhouse gases that would otherwise be produced by burning coal,” Tripp says.

Doing their part to protect the environment is perhaps the greatest reward of all for the Genovesi family. “We’ve always tried to teach our children about being environmentally responsible,” Mrs. Genovesi says, “and we think this project is a great way to demonstrate that.”

For more information on the program, visit www.gpsgenpartners.com.

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In this issue

Wind site expansion complete

Watching the meter run BACKWARD

Brighton-ing the future

Lowe’s keeps green promise

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