Nashville Natives in Fairview receives USDA Funding for 8.28 kW Solar System

Published January 12, 2011

Tennessee nursery goes solar

Nashville Natives receives USDA funding for the 8.28 kilowatt system.

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Kelli Rodda December 3, 2009 Tennessee nursery goes solar - Image

Nashville Natives LLC, a nursery in Fairview, Tenn., has the first solar electric system in the state to receive partial funding from the USDA Rural Energy for America Program incentive. It covers up to 25 percent of the cost of purchasing and installing the 8.28 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system, which was designed and installed by LightWave Solar Electric in Nashville.
“As a nursery that specializes in environmental restoration and sustainable landscapes, this solar project fits right into our whole strategy for being sustainable,” said nursery owner Andy Sudbrock. “We could not have done this without the federal and state incentives.”

Established in the 2008 Farm Bill, REAP incentives foster rural economic development through renewable energy projects and energy efficiency improvements. In FY 2008, grants totaling $15.8 million were made available, along with $204 million in guaranteed loans.
A handful of other REAP grants have been made in Tennessee, but the Nashville Natives project is the first to go into service in the state.
The Nashville Natives solar array of 36 SunPower panels on the roof of Sudbrock’s new equipment shed should offset the cost of the nursery’s entire energy demand in an average year. The nursery’s electrical demand primarily stems from a pot- and flat-filler machine used in the Green Roof operation, as well as fans and temperature controls for the greenhouse and the irrigation of two acres of nursery production fields.
The grid-tied system will feed into the utility lines of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, and the Tennessee Valley Authority will pay the nursery for the solar energy at about twice the retail rate MTEMC charges for electricity.
The 25 percent USDA grant comes on top of a grant from the Tennessee Clean Energy Technology program for another 40 percent of the cost. The nursery business is also eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit.
Over the 25-year warranted life of the panels, the system will save more than 186 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 1,718 pounds of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants – the equivalent of planting 52 acres of trees. The array is expected to produce electricity for the next 40-50 years.

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