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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
City's Solar America Cities Program to Close
Solar America Cities Program
April 14, 2011 - The City of Knoxville will close its Solar America Cities program with a ceremony set for 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 20, at the Tennessee Amphitheater in World's Fair Park.

Solar KnoxvilleThe amphitheater is the same location where Knoxville's Solar America Cities program was launched in 2008, after the city was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to be one of 25 Solar America Cities nationwide.

Knoxville was one of only three cities selected in the Southeast and the aim of its program has been to reduce the barriers to deployment of solar technology in the city. The Solar America City honor included a $200,000 grant and another $250,000 worth of technical assistance from DOE over a two-year period. The Tennessee Valley Authority, KUB, Knox Heritage and Ijams Nature Center also contributed support to the program.

The Solar America Cities effort was later extended to three years.

At the time existing solar arrays in Knoxville and Knox County generated about 15 kilowatts of electricity. Today, three years later, that figure exceeds more than 1,300 kW and there are numerous solar arrays located across the city and county.

"I believe it's been a successful effort," said Jake Tisinger, the city's sustainability coordinator who directs Knoxville's Solar America Cities program. "There has been a tremendous increase in the solar infrastructure. There are solar arrays at the transit center, the convention center and both PV and solar hot water at the Knox Heritage Green House, so the technology is much more visible and there is a lot of interest in it, both business and residential."

"The idea was that the city would help jump start things and then private companies would take over and that's happened," he added.

Tisinger said in addition to the increase in solar capacity and visibility, the Solar Knoxville program offered courses for solar installation certification and training for code enforcement officials and solar technology educators. It also offered a popular workshop, "Solar 101" for homeowners and the general public, and helped sponsor solar tours and fairs among several other educational and outreach activities.

Other Solar Knoxville projects included installation of the city-owned solar PV system at the Duncan Transit Center, installation of solar on Knox Heritage's Green House, and initiated the development of a third-party agreement that will result in the upcoming installation of an additional 90 kW array at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Wednesday's event will include speakers from the city, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Gil Melear-Hough who helped write Knoxville's proposal for the Solar America Cities grant.

Tisinger said the ceremony will recognize the achievements in the solar energy market here since the Solar America Cities designation and will also identify the next steps for continuing that development in Knoxville and the surrounding area. There will be an opportunity following the ceremony to visit the Sunsphere and view the installations on the Convention Center and Greenhouse.

More information about Solar Knoxville is available at www.solarknoxville.org.
For Immediate Release
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