Efficient Energy of Tennessee Installs One Megawatt Solar Array in Knoxville

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Efficient Energy of Tennessee Installs One Megawatt Solar Array in Knoxville

Posted: 08/12/2010
Today utility executives joined with business leaders, and federal, state and local officials to inaugurate a new one megawatt (1 MW) solar power system, the largest in Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Region. Now online, the system is comprised of 4,608 Sharp® ND-224UC1 solar modules made in the company's Memphis plant and was developed, designed and constructed by Natural Energy Group in conjunction with Efficient Energy of Tennessee, LLC (EETN), its integrator arm based in Powell, TN. EETN will also maintain the facility.

"This one megawatt solar project exemplifies Tennessee's leadership in deploying solar power and developing clean energy technology solutions that will create good jobs and foster greater energy independence for our country," said Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. "I'm pleased to see continued investments like the one being celebrated in Knoxville today that are helping us create the clean energy economy of tomorrow."

It is anticipated this solar power array will generate 1,198,920 kWh of clean, emissions free solar energy annually for the Knoxville Utility Board (KUB) grid. This represents the equivalent energy to power more than 120 average-sized American homes. The solar array will eliminate the CO2 / greenhouse gases that would otherwise be emitted by the consumption of 2,000 barrels of oil. In addition, the design, construction and maintenance of this system helped create dozens of new clean tech jobs in Knoxville, in addition the factory jobs that Sharp created at its Memphis plant.

"The City of Knoxville seeks to substantially increase the deployment of solar power in the area. Knoxville's 'Solar America Cities' effort underscores our progress in working toward a sustainable solar infrastructure," said Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam. "This initiative furthers our goal of bringing solar power into the mainstream."

An existing building on the site will be converted to an education center that will include displays of real-time production data, design and installation information, mounting displays (helical piers, etc) and other educational items for public viewing. System construction began in May 2010, and was completed in July; it will be maintained by Efficient Energy of Tennessee, LLC.

"We are extremely proud to have completed and interconnected this signature Tennessee photovoltaic project, the largest in the TVA region, in less than six weeks with the support of the Knoxville Utility Board, TVA and Sharp," noted Robbie Thomas, president of EETN. "Each organization went above and beyond to create a green energy solution that will set the standard for others across the country."

During the dedication ceremony, a gold-plated Sharp ND-224UC1 panel was installed at the Knoxville site to commemorate a recent milestone—the two millionth solar module Sharp has manufactured at its Memphis facility. Brought online in 2003, the facility assembles a variety of solar panels for residential and commercial installations. Since coming online, the factory has increased production capacity, and its manufacturing staff has tripled. In total, the Memphis facility has produced enough solar modules to fully power more than 65,000 homes.

"We're very proud of our collaboration with EETN in helping Tennessee further its sustainability and clean energy goals," noted Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group. "Renewable energy projects such as this one, comprised of solar modules made in the U.S. at Sharp's Memphis manufacturing plant, are not only healthy for our environment, they're healthy for our economy as we help create new clean tech jobs in Tennessee and throughout the nation."

"This is a historic moment for the state of Tennessee as we rapidly establish ourselves as a solar industry leader. In 2010 we have commissioned the first one million watt solar PV array, and Sharp produced two million solar panels in its Memphis Tennessee facility. We are very excited to have been involved in the achievement of these extraordinary milestones," said Harvey Abouelata, vice president of sales & marketing for EETN.

About Natural Energy Group
Natural Energy Group was founded and funded by a group of local investors led by Mike Malicote with a mission of helping organizations like cities, airports and government organizations get into large-scale solar power. The initial project will help show the potential of the technology. Efficient Energy of Tennessee President, Robbie Thomas, is an investor in Natural Energy Group.

About EETN
Efficient Energy of Tennessee (EETN), located in Powell, TN was created to provide affordable, quality, sustainable solutions to rising energy demands in Tennessee and the surrounding areas. EETN currently specializes in energy grant writing, solar PV design and installation as well as power factor correction technology for both residential and commercial customers. For more information visit the EETN website at www.eetenn.com.

About Sharp
Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group, based in Huntington Beach, California, is a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation, the U.S. subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, Osaka, Japan. Sharp is a world market leader in solar cell production, and offers both standard and integrated roof modules for home, business and utility applications.