Taking charge of energy bills through solar power

SUCCESS STORY: The Catering Companies & Bell Mill Mansion

Success Story: The Catering Companies & Bell Mill Mansion
Tara Plumlee, owns several well-known event sites, including The Mill of Chattanooga, and more recently, Bell Mill Mansion.

Solar farm at event hall marries lower energy bills and environmental stewardship

Tara Plumlee grew up in the food industry – helping at her father’s barbecue restaurant from the age of 13. After trying her hand at owning and operating a restaurant, she started The Catering Companies in Chattanooga to give her a more flexible schedule as a new mom.

The beginning of a bright future

When clients asked where they should host the events she was catering, Tara saw an opportunity. Her catering company quickly grew to include multiple event venues.

She now owns several well-known event sites, including The Mill of Chattanooga, and more recently, Bell Mill Mansion.

Standing at over 21,000 square feet on 32 acres, Bell Mill Mansion includes 15 bedrooms, a spa, an outdoor tennis court, a pool, and many more luxurious amenities that would make any visitor’s stay worthwhile.  Just as they would for any property of this magnitude, the electric bills started to add up.

“In comparison to my other properties, Bell Mill was a whole different animal,” says Tara. “The energy bills were extravagant!”

Her father, who had once used solar panels to power his rural cabin in Colorado, suggested she look into installing a small solar farm in one of the Mansion’s large back fields. “My dad’s two cents on solar power ended up being worth a couple thousand dollars,” says Tara.

Taking charge of energy bills through solar power

Using a Pathway Lending Energy Efficiency Loan, Tara worked with Tennessee Solar Solutions to install solar panels to alleviate electricity expenditures for the Bell Mill property. They installed a 100kW solar system that’s expected to produce 139,700 kwh annually, which will equate to $15,902 in revenue.

“From a business standpoint, the tax write-offs are amazing,” says Tara. “Of course I have the lingering benefit of the lowered bills, plus it’s environmentally friendly. As a business owner you want to make the right decision for your company, but you’re also doing something good for the Earth.”

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Solar Solutions Continues to SHINE as a TOP Solar Contractor in North America

Solar Power World’s Top Solar Contractors list is the most recognized annual listing of the top U.S. solar contractors working in the utility, commercial and residential markets.

The solar industry in the US employs right around 374,000 Americans, which is double the combined workforce of coal, oil, and gas. With there being over 6,100 different solar contractors throughout the US competing to be on the list, and we not only made the top 500, but achieved the over all ranking of #198* and #82 commercial solar install). Since the Top 500 list was started in 2012, Tennessee Solar Solutions has placed FOUR consecutive years- 2015, 2016,2017,and 2018.

“We are so proud of the work our team has done for the last 12yrs. Solar energy is not only the most abundant resource for energy usage, but everyone should have access to harness this FREE energy,” said Anthony Roden, Founder + President. “This recognition is as honor and reflective of a hard-working team that is meeting the demand of solar energy in a state that currently doesn’t favor our industry. #solarmeansbusiness and when you are looking at your bottom line for a business or your pocketbook, it makes sense to own your power instead of renting it.”

If solar is something you’re considering adding to your property, there are a ton of benefits financially as well as environmentally. Financially, there is the potential to completely eradicate your electric bill, as well as gain federal tax credit. You could even sell back any power you produce.

The first step in going solar is to contact us- you can go to our website tennesseesolarsolutions.com  or give us a call at (423)535-9350.

2018 Top Solar Contractors


Rank #198

Total Kilowatts Installed Since Founded:13,935 Company Founded2007
Total Kilowatts Installed 20163,093.0 LocationChattanooga, TN
Employees31 Web Sitetennesseesolarsolutions.com
Primary MarketCommercial Primary ServiceEPC

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The 2018 Top Solar Contractors list

*The list details the headquarters location of a company, employees, its primary market (utility, commercial, residential) and its primary service (EPC, developer, rooftop contractor, installation subcontractor, electrical subcontractor, manufacturer installer). Companies choose their primary market and primary service. That does not mean they only work in these areas. They could work across all markets and all services, and their listed kilowatts reflect their cumulative installation numbers from the last year in all markets, services and states. Ranks are determined by the number of kilowatts (DC) a company was involved with installing in 2017 in the United States only. If two companies reported the same 2017 numbers, they were sorted by total kilowatts installed.

72 Million New Homes Will Run On Solar Power By 2030

72 Million New Homes Will Run On Solar Power By 2030


As climate change continues to challenge the way we live and forces us to think about how our lifestyles impact the planet, more people are turning to renewable energy. A new report released from analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance looks at the importance of decentralized energy grids in a growing, modern world. It estimates 72 million new homes will be solar-powered by 2030 as access to cheap, sustainable sources of energy continues to expand . 

This is something that’s not only great for those seeking to transition their current traditional energy sources, but for those in developing or rural communities with limited or zero access to electricity.

The release of the report coincides with UN delegates meeting this week in New York to look at the progress made towards the UN’s sustainable development goals. It highlights 2018’s focus on ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy, safe and resilient cities, and water.

The report argues that, “decentralized systems, including those powered by renewables, could and should close the gap in an environmentally sustainable way. In fact, they estimate that the total industry investment required to achieve this is approximately $372 billion dollars less than recent assessments by the the International Energy Agency.”

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