KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Utilities Board is introducing a new way to get energy to your home and reduce your carbon footprint. Power from KUB’s shared community solar array may soon be available to around 2,000 customers.
“It’s something that’s generated right here in Knoxville,” KUB Environmental Programs lead Chasity Hobby said. “It helps lower emissions and create better air quality. It’s something we are really happy about being able to support for our customers.”
The array will produce on average 1.36-gigawatt hours of solar energy per year, or enough to power around 100 homes. Participants will pay $5 monthly for a share of the electricity generated.
“There are just over 2,000 shares available for the program. Once we get 2,100 customers subscribed then this site will be at full capacity,” Hobby said.
The program is currently being tested and the plan is to launch in April. Those limited shares will only be available on a first come, first served basis. KUB telling us that there are currently 500 people who have signed up on the interest list.
The solar array was built on on three acres of land at the City’s Public Works facility that can be seen off I-40, converting an otherwise unusable former industrial site into the city’s first community solar array.
KUB funded the entire project, roughly $1.4 million for the initial investment and are paying for the upkeep. This program is being geared for use in homes not set up for individual solar power.
“Some people’s houses are just not set up for solar, your roof might be facing the wrong way, maybe you have a bunch of trees in your yard or maybe you live in an apartment or condo,” Hobby said. “This is a way for everyone to participate even if they are unable to install it at their own house.”
Hobby also saying that depending on the success of this array, KUB is open to expanding to other areas with similar projects and there is one goal in mind, reducing the carbon footprint.
“What the program is going to do is allow customers to subscribe to locally generated renewable energy that is being produced at this site,” Hobby said. “They’ll pay a monthly subscription fee and they’ll get back a credit based on how much energy is produced. It’s just a way for them to offset their carbon footprint.”