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The Knox County school board on Wednesday approved adding solar panels to 11 county schools.

"I think if this was all of our schools, I would be much more cautious, but we're talking about 10-12 percent of all of our schools to give something a try," said Karen Carson, school board members.

The panels are expected to save more than $3.8 million in energy costs, a figure that could increase over the next 30 years.

The schools that will receive new solar roof panels are: Hardin Valley Academy; the L&N STEM Academy; A.L. Lotts and Amherst elementary schools; Bearden, Powell, South-Doyle and West Valley middle schools; and Central, Karns and West high schools.

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Visit the University of Tennessee's SPECTRUM solar energy exhibit Saturday at Knoxville Center Mall and learn the ins and outs of solar energy, courtesy of UT, the city of Knoxville, Aries Energy and TN-SCORE.

From 10:30 a.m.-noon March 14, ARiES Energy will present information about installing solar panels for residential and commercial customers, including the process, pay-back period and impact on electricity bills.

The exhibit is on the mall's second level, next to JC Penney.

Register with Eventbrite

The city of Knoxville, in partnership with other local organizations, seeks to improve area residents' energy efficiency in their homes as well as area schools and municipal buildings as part of a nationwide competition.

The goal is to win Georgetown University's $5 million Energy Prize.

The city is on track to improve its efficiency, says Brian Blackmon, project manager for the city of Knoxville's sustainability office, in a recent interview with Business Journal reporter Larisa Brass.

For residential users small changes like programmable thermostats and installing efficient light bulbs are recommended.

KUB will track overall residential energy usage for the program and has plans to launch a new program, Round It Up, which will round customers bills up to the nearest dollar and donate the extra to Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee to provide energy efficiency upgrades for low-income families.

TVA's new program, eScore, will provide free energy audits to homeowners with rebates available for recommended improvements.

Other partners include Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the University of Tennessee, the Alliance to Save Energy, Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light, Harvey Broome Group (Sierra Club) and Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment.

Don't toss that tree! (or the lights)

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Christmas is behind us and many festive trees will soon be stripped of their finery.

If your tree is artificial, then back into storage (we hope!) it goes. But for those who chose a live tree, Knoxville and Knox County have disposal options to keep them out of our landfills and some organizations will also recycle trees and other items. Above, News Sentinel photographer Adam Lau photographed trees dropped off for recycling at Ijams Nature Center.

Knox County residents can drop off their tree anytime in January for free at one of five Knox County recycling centers. Just remove all ornaments, lights, wire, string and other decorations before bringing them to be tree-cycled and reused as mulch and other soil amendments. This option is also open to city of Knoxville residents.

Locations of Christmas Treecycling

  • Dutchtown Convenience Center - 10618 Dutchtown Road
  • Halls Convenience Center - 3608 Neal Drive
  • John Sevier Convenience Center - 1950 West John Sevier Highway
  • Powell Convenience Center - 7311 Morton View Lane
  • Tazewell Pike Convenience Center - 7201 Tazewell Pike

Christmas tree collection for city of Knoxville residents is the same process as for brush collection. Remove decorations and put your tree on the curb. Keep in mind it may stay there for a while -- the regular two-week brush pickup schedule won't resume until Feb. 1, according to the city website.  For faster removal, city residents can also take advantage of the Knox County recycling options above.

Other recycling options can help you give back to community organizations, or earn you a discount on next year's decorations.

In case you missed it, here's a a glance at some energy-related kudos and events news for our area in the last couple of weeks:


--The city of Knoxville and contractor Ameresco celebrated the Knoxville Convention Center's achievement of LEED Silver certification on June 28.

The Knoxville Convention Center is the first convention center in Tennessee to receive LEED through its green initiatives.

Ameresco installed the convention center's 120-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system. Other energy efficiency efforts included new energy efficient boilers, a 30-ton air cooled chiller, window film, a new domestic hot water system and lighting systems to reduce the center's carbon footprint and make the building more sustainable.

"The Convention Center is committed to being a facility that takes the environmental impact of its operations seriously, and our sustainable practices are intricately woven into our everyday operations," said General Manager Mary Bogert in a press release.

--The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association continued calls for TVA to change how it handles solar incentives.

The organization urged changes after the early closure this year of TVA's solar rebate program. Discussion led TVA to add 2.5MW capacity to Green Power Providers effective August 1. TenneSEIA is asking for an additional 2.5MW to be added in October.

related:
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.12885


--Campbell County Schools plan to raise funds with solar panels on school roofs.
Campbell County school officials hope to generate $1 million over the next 20 years by installing solar panels on the district's 12 schools. The 50 kilowatt systems would sell power to TVA.
Solar installation company Efficient Energy of Tennessee developed the idea with the county's finance department.

--ORNL names Ramamoorthy Ramesh as new research chief.
Rammoorthy recently served as director of the SunShot Initiative, a federal program designed to make solar energy cost-competitive.
His research includes material studies of thin films, including those used in solar panels.

--Tennessee-based solar company Silicon Ranch has partnered with Germany's Phoenix Solar AG to build a 38MW solar farm in Georgia.

It will be the state's largest. Silicon Ranch is a solar energy company cofounded by former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

--Mary Shaffer Gill of ARiES Energy will speak to the National Association of Women Business Owners in Nashville on July 25.
She will discuss challenges and opportunities ingrowing an energy-related business. This luncheon will focus on energy efficiency, where leaders in business, energy and manufacturing sectors will discuss energy management best practices, experiences with renewable energy projects and the challenges and opportunities for energy-related businesses.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The state of Tennessee is adding a second car model to its electric vehicle rebate program, which so far has drawn fewer participants than expected.

WSMV-TV reported Wednesday that the state will soon begin offering $2,500 rebates to owners of the Chevrolet Volt, an electric hybrid car.

The rebate program in Tennessee is now only open to people who buy the all-electric Nissan LEAF.

Car owners who chose to participate in the program must agree to allow data about how they use and charge their vehicles to be collected for a government-funded study. The information is being gathered by the California-based ECOtality. The company received a $99 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The state added $2.5 million in matching grant money for the rebates.


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This page is an archive of entries from November 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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