When the program started in 2004 as a pilot, it helped spawn a surge in solar energy industry activity. However that boom is not sustainable, and the program needs to focus on residential and small business customers, as was originally intended, said John Trawick, TVA senior vice president of commercial operations and pricing.
TVA briefly suspended the project last year and has faced a gap in funding for the program as requests increased.
The change does not affect current Generation Partners' incentive levels, which will continue through 2012.
TVA and local distributors will honor commitments under existing Generation Partners contracts. They also will continue to evaluate projects greater than 50 kilowatts that are submitted by Sept. 16.
Renewable systems of less than 50 kilowatts make up more than 80 percent of all executed and approved projects as of July 31, but only 11 percent of the pilot's energy capacity.
TVA had 619 Generation Partners working projects through July, totaling more than 23 megawatts of solar, wind and biomass generation. Another 213 projects, representing another 45 megawatts of power, are approved by TVA and in various stages of construction.
Generation Partners was launched by TVA and local power distributors as a pilot plan in 2003 with TVA paying premium incentives to spur small-scale renewable generation. It is supported by revenues from renewable power "blocks" sold through TVA's Green Power Switch program.