Solar Workshops Aid in Awareness

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Solar Workshops Aid in Awareness

Posted: 02/18/2009
More than 75 business owners and representatives took part in the City of Knoxville's recent "Solar for Your Business" workshop at the Knoxville Chamber on Market Square. 
 
The morning-long session on Thursday, February 12, was designed to inform the group about the opportunities that exist to install various types of solar technology and the multiple financial incentives available to help businesses install it in an affordable and practical manner.

The event was one of a series of similar free workshops being offered as part of the City of Knoxville's Solar America Cities Program - which aims to help create a sustainable solar energy infrastructure here in Knoxville. Gil Melear-Hough, with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is working with the program and presented Thursday's workshop.

The workshops are one way the city is trying to reduce the barriers to the generation of solar energy in Knoxville.

"One of the main reasons solar technologies aren't widely used in Knoxville is that people just aren't aware of all the benefits of solar energy or the financial incentives out there to help offset the cost of installation," said Madeleine Weil, deputy director of Knoxville's Policy & Communications Department. "Both the state and federal governments offer several financing incentives and programs that can help businesses dramatically reduce the costs of installing solar technologies. We're trying to get the word out that there are functional systems that you can afford and use, right now." 
 
While the most recent workshop was designed for a business audience, the city has already held one workshop for homeowners and will be offering several others. The workshops are free.

"The Solar America City workshops are great educational tools for explaining to our consumers, the different types of Solar Systems available, the benefits of each of these technologies, and the local resources available to assist in making the transition toa cleaner, more energy efficient city," said Crystal Sharp, with America 4 Solar, a Knoxville-based energy company. "These workshops are an excellent venue for conveying this important information and are visibly raising interest in the most practical solar energy resources for our homes and businesses." 
 
Knoxville's Solar American Cities Program grew out of the city's selection by the U.S. Department of Energy last year as a Solar America City, one of only three such cities in the Southeast. As a result of the selection the city is receiving $300,000 in grant funds from DOE and the Tennessee Valley Authority to help fund its solar efforts as well as an additional $250,000 in technical assistance from the agencies.

Upcoming solar workshops include:

Friday, April 17th
"Green Jobs and Education Opportunities"
12:30-2:00 p.m.
Pellissippi State Technical Community College, J.L. Goins Building Cafeteria Annex at 10915 Hardin Valley Road
Saturday, April 18th
"Solar Basics for the Home"
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Pellissippi State Technical Community College, J.L. Goins Building Auditorium at 10915 Hardin Valley Road
*This workshop will be held in conjunction with Earthfest.
Saturday, June 13th
"Photovoltaics In-Depth: Site Analysis, Interconnection, and other Electric Issues"
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Ijams Nature Center, Visitors Center at 2915 Island Home Avenue
Saturday, August 15th
"Solar Hot Water: In-Depth"
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Ijams Nature Center, Visitors Center at 2915 Island Home Avenue
To attend a workshop, please RSVP to Gil Melear-Hough at 865-789-5482 gil@cleanenergy.org

More information about Knoxville's Solar America Cities Program is available at www.cityofknoxville.org/policy/solar