Tennessee has adopted solar in a big way, housing the nation’s single largest solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility – not surprising for a state with more than 100 days of sunshine a year. Businesses and homeowners alike are noticing state incentives that make solar an attractive and clean source of energy that can help save them money. Learn more about switching to solar panels in Tennessee, including an analysis of current electricity costs, available rebates on solar panel systems, and a comprehensive list of solar providers.

Tennessee’s Solar Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

Electricity Costs in Tennessee

Tennessee residents love their electricity, using 33 percent more than the national average according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Despite being among the highest users of electricity in the nation, Tennesseans spend close to the U.S. average thanks to low electricity prices of $.11/kWh. Nevertheless, households are still spending a great deal of their earnings on electricity. High electric bills can be a helpful factor in drawing in potential solar buyers, as the power that solar panels in Tennessee produce will help lower costs and provide a great deal of savings over the system’s lifetime.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Tennessee
Library of Solar Resources

Tennessee Solar Policies & Incentives

A 5 kW solar system can cost about $20,000. Tennessee offers incentives that can help lower the price by up to $8,000. Although Tennessee lacks strong solar policy and implementation, there are still resources for potential solar buyers to save money. The Tennessee Valley Authority offers a $1,000 rebate upon install, instantly lowering the cost of the system. Apart from this rebate, the state also offers performance payments and property tax exemptions. Without a state income tax, there are no solar tax credits offered. But with other money-saving options, a solar system can still provide a return on investment.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

TVA – Green Power Providers

This performance-based incentive program for the installation of solar photovoltaic generation systems provides a $1,000 rebate upon installation as well as retail electric rate payments over 20 years. Qualifying systems will have a minimum total nameplate generation capacity of 500 watts and a maximum of 50 kW.

Green Energy Property Tax Assessment

This program provides an ad valorem property tax assessment for qualified green energy production facilities. The assessed property value of all certified green energy production facilities may not exceed 12.5 percent of installed costs for solar.

None for residential specifically

TVA – Mid-Sized Renewable Standard Offer Program

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offers incentives to enter 50 kW and 20 MW renewable energy generators into long-term contracts. The standard offer for customer generators is based on a seasonal time-of-day chart. The actual rebate amount is set at the date of contract

TVA – Solar Solutions Initiative

TVA’s Solar Solutions Initiative (SSI) pilot program offers additional performance-based financial incentives for solar PV systems participating in the Renewable Standard Offer program. The incentive offers 0.04 cents per kWh for the first 10 years after the project is operational and is additional to the seasonal time-of-day price.

POLICIES

Solar Easements

Tennessee law has a statute that allows for easements to be created that ensure access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems. Easements may include descriptions of property affected, angles at which easement extends and conditions of compensation or termination.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

TAX CREDITS

None

None for residential specifically

Sales Tax Credit For Clean Energy Technology

Tennessee law allows for a 100 percent rebate on sales and use tax on purchases for solar machinery and equipment used to produce electricity in a certified green energy production facility.

TAX EXEMPTIONS

None

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

Solar Panel Contractors & Installers in Tennessee

Tennessee residents have their pick of solar companies with many to choose from throughout the state. Listed below are businesses operating across Tennessee.

J&S Construction

This is the only contractor in the State of Tennessee to be awarded the Achievement Award from The Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence twice.

Where it operatesCookeville, TN

Year of opening1957

ARiES Energy

ARiES Energy installs solar PV, solar thermal, LED lighting, power conditioning, energy efficiency products and service, and more. The company has a combined five years of experience in the renewable energy industry. ARiES Energy is wholly-owned by PHG Energy of Nashville.

Where it operatesKnoxville, TN

Year of opening2011

GreenForm

GreenForm is a locally based and owned multifaceted company that specializes in the restoration and value enhancement of both residential and commercial properties. A fully-licensed contractor, the company offers a variety of construction services including roofing along with solar PV installation. In addition to its Chattanooga headquarters, GreenForm maintains offices in Nashville and in Huntsville, Alabama.

Where it operatesChattanooga, TN

Year of opening2012

Tennessee Solar Solutions

Turn-key solar energy systems for commercial, residential, and agri-business. Solar energy system design, installation and maintenance. Top solar power contractor 2015 and 2016. Empowering people throughout the Southeast and beyond.

Where it operatesChattanooga, TN

Year of opening2007

Total Quality Environmental

TQE does both residential and commercial projects of any size system.

Where it operatesChattanooga, TN

Year of opening2012

JWC Specialties, Inc.

JWC Specialties investigates, designs, procures, builds, and maintains cost savings energy systems and energy storage systems for industry.

Where it operatesWhite Bluff, TN

Year of opening1969

Adman Electric

Adman Electric is one of the region’s largest electrical contractors.

Where it operatesChattanooga, TN

Year of opening1975

Greene Tech Renewable Energy

This company installs solar PV, solar heat, wind power and hydro systems.

Where it operatesMidway, TN

Year of opening2008

Pointe General Contractors

Pointe is a full-service general contractor constructing projects ranging from small office renovations to multi-million dollar developments.

Where it operatesChattanooga, TN

Year of opening2014

Mainstream Green Solutions

Mainstream Green Solutions in Tennessee offers a variety of power solar solutions for your home or office.

Where it operatesLexington, TN

Year of opening2009

Lightwave Solar

Lightwave Solar is a solar engineering, procurement, and construction firm.

Where it operatesNashville, TN

Year of opening2006

Tri-State Armature and Electrical Works, Inc.

This company is certified for Sharp SRS Solar Panel installations by Sharp and has NABCEP entry level solar certification.

Where it operatesMemphis, TN

Year of opening1920

Solar and Renewable Power Systems

SRPS provides professional design, installation and maintenance of solar PV systems.

Where it operatesJackson, TN

Year of opening2010

Stansell Electric Company, Inc.

Stansell Electric Company, Inc. is an award-winning electrical contractor and systems integrator.

Where it operatesNashville, TN

Year of opening1940

Geothermal and Solar- Maynard Select

This company offers geothermal and solar solutions and was named a Green Leader by the Nashville Post.

Where it operatesNashville, TN

Year of opening1938

Green Earth Solar

Green Earth Solar provides solar installation services to residential and commercial customers in the Tennessee Valley area and beyond.

Where it operatesKnoxville, TN

Year of opening2010

Efficient Energy of Tennessee

EETN is a service-disabled veteran-owned and a full-service solar EPC contractor that provides national coverage for solar PV development, design, procurement, and installation.

Where it operatesPowell, TN

Year of opening2009

EcoLogical Energy Systems

This company designs and installs solar PV for residential, commercial and municipal applications in the tri-Cities region of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

Where it operatesBristol, TN

Year of opening1982

Solar Energy Resources for Tennessee Residents

Ready to learn more about solar policies, incentives and other solar-related information in Tennessee? Review our list of resources to answer all your questions.

Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA)

Learn more information about the governing body of Tennessee that decides electricity rates and services of Tennessee public utilities.

Tennessee General Assembly

Explore current legislative issues about solar energy as well as information to contact individual legislators can be found at this site.

DSIRE Incentives Database – Tennessee

Search a comprehensive listing of all solar incentives offered in Tennessee.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Tennessee State Profile

Discover official energy statistics within the state of Tennessee offered by the U.S. government.