Seven States Power member and board representative Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) and Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Chris Hansen join the ranks of Facebook, Google, Volkswagen and a host of local power companies as Solar Champions according to Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA). Both KUB and TVA, who are in good company with past recipients for their transformative work, were selected by TenneSEIA for the 2020 annual award which recognizes individuals or entities that demonstrate leadership in support of solar energy deployment in the region.


More than 250 people participated in TenneSEIA’s 3rd Annual Tennessee Valley Solar Conference, which was held virtually this year, to hear insights and perspectives from a wide range of policymakers, industry participants, and utility leadership.


At the conclusion of the conference, TenneSEIA announced its selection of KUB and TVA’s Chris Hansen as winners of its 2020 Solar Champion Award. Both recipients were recognized for substantial contributions expanding solar in the region most recently through TVA’s Green Invest program, a renewable energy tariff that enables large customers to access renewable energy from new projects in the Valley.

KUB was recognized for participating in the program to secure 212 megawatts of new-to-the-grid solar power for its customers. KUB’s new investment in solar will generate an anticipated 465 million kilowatt-hours per year, an amount equal to approximately 8 percent of KUB’s annual electric load, the equivalent of powering 35,000 average homes.


“KUB’s meaningful commitment to the Green Invest program marked the first such agreement between TVA and a local power company,” said TenneSEIA Board Member Forrest Forster. “As other LPCs follow KUB’s leadership, TenneSEIA expects to see a substantial increase in solar demand across the Valley.”


“KUB is committed to sustainable practices that help ensure the well-being of our current and future customers,” said Gabriel Bolas, President and CEO of Knoxville Utilities Board. “As technologies advance, and the needs and desires of our customers change, we continue to listen and adapt. We appreciate TenneSEIA for recognizing that commitment and are happy to make solar energy more accessible to all of our customers.”

TVA’s Vice President of Origination and Renewables, Hansen was credited for his leadership role in the development of TVA’s portfolio of renewable options including the Green Invest program.  TenneSEIA credits his work with helping local power companies (LPCs) leverage low-cost solar energy to meet customer needs and recruit new business.


“We were so excited to see our member and partner on solar deployment in the Valley recognized this way,” said Betsey Kirk McCall, executive vice president of Seven States Power. “Seven States was honored to participate in a panel discussion about the LPC solar market and contract flexibility during this year’s conference. We were in good company speaking with members, vendors, solar industry leaders, and indeed Solar Champions.”


TenneSEIA is the state affiliate for the national Solar Energy Industries Association and represents the interests of the solar energy industry in Tennessee. The mission of TenneSEIA is to promote the development of solar energy and complementary technologies, including storage, positioning the Tennessee Valley’s residents and businesses as leaders in clean energy deployment and economic development.