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Third Party Finance of Renewable Energy

Category: Energy

Initiative Objective:

Solar panels on the Convention Center

Initiative Objective

The City of Knoxville’s third party fianance model includes installation of a 90 kWh solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the top of the Knoxville Convention Center, a municipally-owned facility in downtown Knoxville.  The allocated $250,000 of the City’s DOE EECBG funds is being used to catalyze third-party financing and ownership the system, and will augment an existing 30 kW system finaced through Knoxville's guaranteed savings Energy Service Performance Contract. A third party finance model for renewable energy functions as follows: a host site leases space to a private party for a privately-owned and operated system.  The private party captures the renewable energy credits (RECs), leverages available incentives and rebates, and locates investors to make a viable fiscal arrangement.  At the end of the lease term, the host can purchase the system for roughly half the initial installation costs, making the system affordable.  Utilizing this model enables hosts to maximize system size while minimizing cost. By leveraging the resources of the Knoxville Solar America Cities Program (SAC), the installation will be used as a workforce development opportunity, and will be easily accessible as an educational tool. The Convention Center’s scrolling marquis will show energy savings after panel completion.  This project will provide a legal model in the TVA region for affordable clean energy generation, and the City of Knoxville's successful demonstration of this type of financing model could significantly increase deployment of solar technologies.   

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