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Community Solar Project is Coming to Life 
Knoxville is getting greener every day.

Many residents and travelers of I-40 may have taken notice of the newly installed solar panels near the I-640 interchange. They are part of a project undertaken to provide more direct, renewable energy for Knoxville residents. 

Community Solar

The City of Knoxville, Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have collaborated to make this project a reality. About three acres of land were available next to the City’s Public Works Building on Morris Avenue, eliminating one of the biggest barriers to solar power: land acquisition. The land itself is also right underneath TVA transmission lines, making the tie-in extremely easy and convenient.

Community Solar
Hunter Carr and Alex Marsicovetere, City of Knoxville Office of Sustainability

“The power that’s generated here will actually go directly into the grid,” says City of Knoxville Sustainability Director Brian Blackmon. “What you’re doing is investing in solar in your community.” This guarantees that the solar energy that is generated is guaranteed to be used in the Knoxville area. 

Citizens will be able to opt-in to “subscribe” to the energy generated by the panels. Their funds will be used to offset the cost of the project and support the use of green energy in Knoxville. KUB will release more details on their subscription model this coming fall. 

“Subscribing gives people a way to invest in green energy in their community. They know when they invest in this here, that it’s here. They can go see it, they can go visit it,” Blackmon remarks regarding the subscription model. It ensures an accessible, certain avenue for local green energy. 

The solar energy will likely go live by the end of the calendar year following the completion of construction and debugging. 

The solar panels are one facet to the City’s extensive green initiatives. In 2019, the City adopted new emission reduction goals of eliminating 50 percent by 2030 municipally and 80 percent by 2050 community-wide.

To learn more about Knoxville’s sustainability goals, visit KnoxvilleTN.gov/Sustainability

Community Solar

Photos and story by Summer in the City intern Teresa Cao. 
Posted by ptravis On 28 July, 2022 at 2:50 PM