TTU generating solar energy for Cookeville

Posted by Lori Shull - Monday, August 20 2012



thumb SolarNoCheckSome of the power coursing through houses and businesses in the Upper Cumberland may have come from Tennessee Tech University’s solar panels.

The university recently connected several large solar panels to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s power grid. The panels have the capacity to generate 12 kilowatts, or enough to power nearly 400 fluorescent light bulbs.

“Power that we generate from the solar array offsets power that we use elsewhere, like some of the power it takes to charge our fleet of electric vehicles,” said Anthony Loftis, manager of TTU’s power plant. “It’s not a huge amount of power when compared to total campus energy usage, but it is a significant contributions by TTU to sustainable energy.”

The panels were donated to TTU’s Center for Energy Systems Research a couple years ago, but operation agreements delayed the connections.

TTU will receive about 12 cents for each kilowatt of power the panels produce. The university also received a one-time $1,000 payment as an incentive for becoming a TVA Generation Partner.

“Our core business is not to generate electricity; our core business is education,” Loftis said. “Since we have the capacity and the College of Engineering and the Office of Research, these things have come together.”