(615) 446-9051 | 236 Cowan Rd. Dickson, TN 37055 | Office Hours - Mon. to Fri. 8 am – 5 pm | descustomerservice@dicksonelectric.com

Customer Generation

Dickson Electric System purchases 100% of energy delivered to our customers from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). TVA is committed to continuing to use cleaner generation and is currently supporting their generation portfolio with 14% renewable energy and 56% carbon-free generation. With TVA’s commitment to clean generation, it is less vital for customers to provide their own renewable generation.

Due to TVA’s focus on renewable and clean generation, your need to generate renewable energy or purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset your carbon footprint is far less than it would be in other areas of the country. However, Dickson Electric System supports customer generation including renewable options. As a public power utility, DES supports the best options for our customers, whether it is to purchase 100% of your electricity from DES or to supplement your electric needs with renewable energy. DES is here to assist with all your energy options.


DES supports our customers’ choices by ensuring your electric needs are 100% reliable through backup generation or the desire to reduce your carbon footprint through renewable generation. This support is driven by our safety-first commitment to our employees and our communities.

Whether you are installing solar panels on your home or backup generation via a whole-home generator or a portable generator, all grid-tied systems require mandatory compliance. A system that is not compliant with DES policies can be extremely dangerous and may pose a life-threatening risk to the general public, to our employees, or even to you, the homeowner. That’s right. You can suffer severe burns and even death while connecting your portable generator to the grid.

In 2021, the State of Tennessee enacted House Bill No. 252 that requires a manual disconnect switch installed on systems connecting to the power distribution grid.  Dickson Electric requires a manual disconnect switch on all generator or solar installs tied to the grid. Click here to see House Bill No. 252.

Click here to watch a short video showing a meter arc flash. A meter arc flash may occur anytime you are accessing your electric meter.

All DES policies are created to keep our staff and communities safe. In each of the options below, please follow all installation requirements regarding specified equipment and installation. For the safety of our lineworkers, DES encourages you to self-report all generation that is grid-tied.
To self-report, or if you have questions or want to request an inspection, please contact Kaci Booker at 615.441.6316 or email at customergeneration@dicksonelectric.com prior to installation of generation.


All DES installation requirements MUST be met before generation can begin. Failure to notify DES of the customer’s generation, or failure to install to DES specifications, or obtain all necessary inspections as well as liability insurance will result in immediate disconnection of electric service. The customer will remain disconnected from the DES grid until ALL DES installation requirements have been met and a state electricial inspection has been passed.

Customer Backup Generation

While the distribution system is 99.99% reliable, there are times when the distribution grid cannot deliver electricity to your home. Most of these events are weather-related and are often unpredictable. If you want to increase reliability, you may choose to have a generator to produce electricity when the electric grid cannot deliver. There are many choices for backup generation ranging from portable generators to whole-home generators. DES recommends backup generation be installed by a licensed contractor and meet all DES safety standards.

Customer Backup Generation Required Documents


All customers with portable or whole-home generators must complete and sign the following documents, along with equipment specs and one-line drawing from your installer. Please submit the signed documents to customergeneration@dicksonelectric.com. The required $100 application fee may be paid at our office or by mail to the address below. Please include your current account number and the address where the system is to be installed.

Dickson Electric System, Attn: Nona McKee
PO Box 627
Dickson, TN 37056

Use the customer checklist below to ensure your generation complies with DES procedures. Each option below will include the requirements for installing grid-tied generation. Failure to comply with any of the following requirements will result in the disconnection from the DES distribution grid. If you are considering generation and need guidance, please contact DES at 615.441.6316


Portable generator:

A portable generator is a fossil fuel (i.e. gas, diesel, propane) generator into which you can directly plug a limited number of items based on their voltage requirements. This type of generator should be used outdoors since it produces carbon monoxide.

If a portable generator is NOT tied to your electric panel OR plugged into a home outlet, then the electricity will not flow back onto the grid. Generators that are NOT plugged into the home do NOT pose a safety concern for DES employees and the general public and are therefore not subject to compliance standards by DES.

If you DO tie your portable generator to your electric panel or outlet, you MUST follow DES requirements and complete the customer checklist above. Click below to download DES’s grid-tied portable generator requirements. 

Whole-home generators:

Whole-home generators ARE tied directly into your electric panel and require an inspection from the state electrical inspector. DES has mandatory requirements to keep our lineworkers safe during an outage since there is always a potential for the generation to feed back onto the grid. Click below to download DES’s whole-home generators requirements.

Selecting an Installer

When selecting a contractor/installer, we recommend you exercise due diligence by requesting references and checking reviews.

Renewable Generation

With the overwhelming amount of information available on renewable energy options for your home or business, DES is here to help customers navigate your best options. To ensure public and employee safety, DES does have mandatory requirements for all grid-tied renewable generation. If you have an existing generation system that was installed without DES guidance, please contact us immediately so we can help ensure your system’s safety and compliance.

Each option below will include the requirements for installing grid-tied generation. Failure to comply with any of the following requirements will result in immediate disconnection from the DES distribution grid. If you are installing generation and need guidance, please contact us at 615.441.6316

To begin the installation of your renewable generating system (such as a solar array), begin by calculating the size of your system. Click here to calculate the correct size: https://edt.tva.gov/.

It is important to follow DES specified requirements for installing a system. If you do not follow grid-tied requirements, you could actually be adding to your electric bill. Since your electric meter does not recognize the direction of energy flow, DES must reprogram your meter to record only the flow of energy from the grid; otherwise, any overproduced energy from your system will be metered as energy used, actually increasing your power bill.

If installing your system requires an upgrade to DES’s distribution system (which is not likely), you will be financially responsible for any cost associated with the upgrade.

Green Connect (Available NOW!)

If you need assistance in knowing where to start, TVA and Dickson Electric are here to help. Beginning 2021, customers will be able to find a TVA-vetted contractor through the Green Connect Program who will help guide you through:

  • Right-sizing your system for cost efficiency
  • Obtaining a quality installation of your system
  • Complying with all State of Tennessee and DES requirements
  • $50 Application fee for Green Connect installations

To learn more about the Green Connect Program or to get started click on this link: www.greenconnect.com.

If you are NOT using a contractor to install your renewable system, please remember the following:

Right-Sizing Your System:

It is important to “right-size” your renewable system (such as solar) since renewable generation premiums are no longer available. Click here to calculate the appropriate system size to meet your electric needs: https://edt.tva.gov/.

Required Documents for All Scenarios:

Regardless of whether you are using a contractor or self-installing your system, compliance begins with completing the Interconnection and Parallel Operation Agreement and Interconnection Application (below). DES requires all grid-tied generation to pass inspection by the State of Tennessee electrical inspector as well as a DES representative. Below you will find a Customer Checklist to ensure you are following a successful path to safely installing your renewable generation system.

Please submit the executed documents to customergeneration@dicksonelectric.com. The required $100 application fee may be paid at our office or by mail to the address below: (Please include your current account number and the address where the system is to be installed.)

Dickson Electric System, Attn: Kaci Booker
PO Box 627
Dickson, TN 37056

Renewable (Solar) Connection Options

There are multiple options for configuring your renewable generation system. The Connection Diagrams below are specific to how you choose to use the energy produced by your system. You may choose to use 100% of the power you generate or you may sell some or all to TVA. Power sold to TVA requires a Dispersed Power Production (DPP) 5-year contract with TVA. Rates for generation are TVA’s avoided cost (less than 2 cents per kWh) and are posted monthly. For details on the DPP rates and program details, click here.

Please Note: DES charges a monthly fee to report the generation to TVA. Please email customergeneration@dicksonelectric.com for the monthly fee amount.


The electricity produced serves the facility’s needs first. Any excess electricity is delivered to the power grid without payment. If the facility needs additional electricity, it must be bought from DES. A meter capable of recording only kW/kWh received will be needed. DES will reprogram your current meter to meet this requirement.

Self-Generation and Dispersed Power Contract

The electricity produced serves the facility’s needs first. TVA purchases any excess electricity that is delivered to the grid. If the facility needs additional electricity, it must be bought from Dickson Electric. A DES bidirectional meter capable of recording kW/kWh received from DES and delivered to the power grid on separate channels is required.

Dispersed Power Sell-All Contract

All of the electricity produced and delivered to the power grid is sold to TVA. The facility buys all of its electricity from DES. Two meters—one for electricity purchased by the customer from DES and one for electricity generated by the customer and sold to TVA—are required.

Self-Generation with Battery Backup

Generation coupled with a battery for stored energy is configured a bit differently than normal generation. To comply with DES safety requirements for generation with battery storage, please follow the configuration below. This system must be inspected by DES and State of Tennessee electrical inspector.

Renewable Energy Credits

For DES customers who are unable to accommodate a renewable system, there are still options to reduce your carbon footprint and access “green energy” through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). 

What is a Renewable Energy Credit (REC)?

A REC is a unit of measurement assigned to each unit of renewable energy produced. One REC is equivalent to one megawatt-hour of renewable energy generated and added/delivered to the power grid. When you purchase a REC, you are purchasing the legal right to the renewable energy generated from that renewable source. Since renewable energy produced simply flows on to the grid like any other energy produced, when you purchase a REC it is as though that kWh produced is flowing to you. DES offers programs for both residential and non-residential customers.  

Green Switch

The Green Switch Program is offered to both residential and business customers enabling our customers to help build a market for renewable electricity. Increased demand for renewable generation of electricity helps reduce conventional electricity demand in the Tennessee Valley. Also, renewable energy helps reduce the carbon footprint in the Valley which in turn reduces air pollution and carbon dioxide. The current renewable source is 70% solar, 20% wind, and 10% biomass.

Purchase 1 block (200kWh) for $2/month added to your monthly power bill.

No contract required. Unlimited blocks. Customers may opt-out at any time.

Click the below links for more information and to enroll.

TVA Green Switch

TVA Green Power Purchase Calculator

Green Flex

Green Flex is a REC program offered to non-residential customers. The resource comes from 100% wind-generated outside the TVA footprint. There is a minimum purchase of 2,000 RECs per year that can be purchased at $1.50 per REC.

You cannot purchase more than 105% of your annual electric consumption. A one-year contract with this program is required (which begins on January 1st of each year).

Click here for more information and call Dustine Roberts at DES at 615.441.6346 to request a contract.

Green-E Certified

Both Green Switch and Green Flex are Green-e Energy Certified Products that meet the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Renewable Resource Solutions.

Green-e is an independent resource that ensures that the production of green energy produced matches the renewable attributes sold in the Green Switch and Green Flex programs. Green-e also verifies that the REC is not sold more than once or claimed by more than one party. 

Learn more at www.green-e.org

Other Resources

The Solar Energy Industries Association® is a tremendous resource for consumers who wish to add solar energy to their homes. To understand the basics of solar energy, to review potential options, and to know the right questions to ask your solar installer, download their Residential Consumers Guide below.