LightWave Solar Insider
July 2016 Newsletter
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LightWave Solar Celebrates 10 Years
LightWave Solar 10th Anniversary
Steve Johnson installed his first grid-tied solar system on his home in 2006. Later that year, Steve boldly switched his business from electrical contracting to 100% solar photovoltaics (PV). On July 5, 2006, LightWave Solar was born!

Steve's first solar experience dates back to 1978 when he helped build a small solar emergency communication system for priests in Belize. Then, he installed a stand-alone emergency radiation detector for TEMA at the Soddy Daisy Nuclear Plant. An electrician by trade, Steve's enthusiasm for solar PV grew as he learned more about it. He believed sunlight could and should power more than calculators and satellites. However, with high solar panel costs, he would not install more solar until 1999 as part of the Y2K concerns when he helped install several off-grid systems.

LightWave Solar's first customers
Steve (middle) with first customers Brian Paddock & Mary Mastin at LWS anniversary party
In 2006, LightWave Solar's first customer was attorney Brian Paddock and attorney Mary Mastin with 3.8kW at their home in Cookeville, Tennessee. LightWave Solar's first commercial customer was Street Dixon Rick Architecture in Nashville. Slowly but surely, LightWave Solar gained speed with other pioneering customers including Al Gore, Billy Caldwell with Caldwell Travel and several Nashville-area homeowners. Then, LightWave Solar landed projects for big names like Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Franke Foods and Firestone. 

As solar panel costs came down and state and federal incentives increased, LightWave Solar grew tremendously, doubling in number of employees and revenue every year for the first 5 years. Other solar installers popped up, solar component manufacturing expanded, and Tennessee had a thriving solar industry, despite the country's economic downturn.

Over the last four years, TVA stepped down their solar incentive program somewhat faster than solar panel prices dropped, and fixed charges on electric bills have crept up quietly. The ace in the hole is solar has no fuel cost, and that is a hard act to top. Without fuel costs, a levelized cost of energy (LCE) is easy to forecast in the solar industry - not so in industries that require constant burning of fuel dollars to generate power. With more unknowns in the future, a predictable free source of fuel brings value to the table.

We have stepped up our activity with larger projects, including 3.9 megawatts in Houston, Mississippi - a project 1,000 times the size of our first customer's system.

Though it has been a wild ride, LightWave Solar has been 100% committed to solar PV, and we are optimistic about the future of solar energy in Tennessee. We owe our success to Steve's vision, our passionate customers, our dedicated employees and many solar advocates across the state. THANK YOU!
Solar Spotlight: Gallatin Mini Storage
Gallatin Mini Storage
Last month Gallatin Mini Storage installed not one solar system, not two, not three, but FOUR solar systems at their storage facilities in Gallatin, TN.

Gallatin Mini Storage is a family owned and operated self storage facility started started in 1979 when the concept of self storage was in its infancy, especially in Gallatin. Since that time the company has expanded and evolved into a one-stop shop for the self-mover providing storage, moving supplies, and truck rentals.
Owner Phillip Bennett recently discussed why he decided to invest in solar:

"First, we have a large amount of roof top square footage that is ideal for solar panels. Second, we have many storage units that are climate controlled requiring electricity for heating and air conditioning. Third, solar power makes sense! As TVA maintains its renewable energy program, Green Power Providers, it makes investing in solar feasible for small businesses that want to help in becoming environmentally friendly."
We asked about his experience working with LightWave Solar: 

"We looked into solar a few years ago, and it did not work out. When the topic of solar came up again, we were a little discouraged until we met with the LightWave team. From the initial meeting until the solar arrays were turned on, the entire process was streamlined and organized. Putting a solar array on your property, participating in the Green Power Providers program, and applying for the USDA grant involves many steps. Through clear and timely communication of LightWave's team, it made all these steps smooth. The install of the solar array was clean, concise and done with professionalism."
Gallatin Mini Storage Solar
Gallatin Mini Storage now has 4 solar PV systems at 3 facilities totaling 87 kilowatts (332 solar panels). 
Solar Workshops for Businesses
Our workshops cover everything you want to know about going solar. We will explain how solar works, the financial incentives (up to 60% of commercial solar costs recouped with tax benefits), and a financing option for positive cash flow in the first year!

Bring your electric bill and we will provide your free preliminary estimate!

Solar Workshop
Commercial Solar Workshop in Nashville
Wednesday, July 13 from 10:00am-11:30am
Nova Copy
15 Lindsley Avenue in Nashville, TN

Commercial Solar Workshop in Smyrna
Wednesday, July 27 from 10:00am-11:30am
Smyrna Town Centre
100 Sam Ridley Parkway in Smyrna, TN
LightWave Solar Workshop Sign up

Where we've been installing...
Solar installation at Powell Middle School in Knoxville, TN
Powell Middle School in Knoxville, TN: 259kW
Solar installation at Sewanne University
Sewanne University: 17kW
Franklin Residence
Franklin, TN Residence: 24kW Ground-mount
Solar Petition: Oppose Kingsport Power's Rate Change
An electric utility in East Tennessee, Kingsport Power, is attempting to adopt discriminatory, solar-only charges that would increase the electric bills of their customers who generate solar energy. 

The Kingsport Power proposal is a threat to solar power in Kingsport and across Tennessee since it would set a dangerous precedent of punishing Tennesseans for going solar.

Help stop KP by signing a petition & letter to the TN Regulatory Authority:
Sign letter here!
Thank you for your signatures.
TVA Green Power Providers program update
TVA Solar Program Dashboard
There is still room in TVA's residential and small commercial solar program with 5.14 megawatts available - about half of the 2016 program capacity of 10MW. However, the non-residential capacity has been shrinking at a faster pace and just 1.42MW remain. Contact us to get into the program!
LWS 10th Anniversary
609 solar installations and counting...

LightWave Solar
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