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Nashville One Step Closer to 9,000-Plus Solar Panels

3/9/2021
Andrea Fanta, andrea.fanta@nashville.gov

With Metro Council’s Unanimous Vote, City Can Generate 3.2 Megawatts and Reduce Carbon Footprint

Mayor John Cooper has, for the second time, approved actions that will reduce Nashville’s carbon footprint.

Metro will install 9,777 solar panels in large-scale photovoltaic solar facilities housed at three Metro Water Services treatment plants (Central, Whites Creek and Omohundro).

The panels will generate 3.2 megawatts of power and achieve a carbon emissions reduction equivalent to removing 600 vehicles from the road.

“Metro Council’s unanimous approval of this project affirms our commitment to making Nashville healthier and more sustainable,” Mayor Cooper said. “Solar power is an important source of affordable, clean energy that will help our city reach our renewable energy goal while addressing a major cause of climate change.” Metro Council unanimously approved the plan (BL2021-613) last week.

In 2020, Metro Nashville became the first local government to pursue access to utility-scale solar power in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) service territory. That project should result in yet another emissions reduction – this one equivalent to taking 14,000+ vehicles off the road every year for 20 years.

“This winter, we’ve been reminded of the importance of energy security as a component of energy efficiency,” said Metro Councilmember Freddie O’Connell, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “This important initiative by Metro Water Services will offer long-term ratepayer advantages and improve local energy reliability by allowing us to generate more of our own local, renewable power.”

Council’s vote last week supports another ordinance (BL2019-1600) requiring Metro to get 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025 – roughly 2.5 percent of which must be solar. Under the measure, all Metro’s energy must be sourced by renewable energy by 2041, and 10 percent of it must be solar power.

In addition to solar power initiatives, Mayor Cooper also worked with Metro Council in 2020 to modernize Nashville’s building codes for greater energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings.

These upgrades could reduce energy use in newly-constructed homes by up to 30 percent – resulting in a net lifetime utility savings of $8,034 for Nashville homeowners.

“This is just one part of Nashville’s strategy to transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient community, which includes improving our energy efficiency, saving and strengthening our tree canopy, and finding other innovative ways to reduce Metro’s carbon footprint,” Cooper said.

Read the mayor’s sustainability advisory committee report and learn more about Mayor John Cooper’s sustainability efforts.