Young leaders learn about co-ops, agriculture at conference

[CO-OP HEADQUARTERS CITY] – [ATTENDEES NAMES AND HOMETOWN] was sponsored by [COOPERATIVE] to attend the 2019 Young Leaders Conference held Feb. 22 and 23 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Franklin. More than 330 young people from across the state gathered at the annual conference that brings couples and individuals together from rural communities to learn about cooperatives, share their views about agriculture and discuss current issues facing rural Americans.

The Tennessee Council of Cooperatives (TCC) co-sponsors the annual conference with Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers organization.

This year’s event covered a variety of subjects aimed at educating leaders about cooperatives and agricultural issues as well as leadership skills and issues facing rural Tennessee. Keynote speakers included motivational speaker HK Derryberry and entrepreneur Colonel Littleton. Ventriloquist David Turner entertained attendees as well.

Jai Templeton, former Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, was presented an annual award given by TCC to an individual who has shown dedication to the cooperative cause in Tennessee. TCC made a $1,000 contribution in Templeton’s honor to the John Willis Memorial Scholarship fund, which provides financial aid to deserving college agriculture students in the state.

The Tennessee Council of Cooperatives is a statewide organization supported by Tennessee’s 60 member cooperatives, including 29 farmer cooperatives and 23 electric cooperatives.

Local young leaders learn about government during electric co-op event in Nashville

[CO-OP HEADQUARTERS CITY] – [High School] student [Name] and [High School] student [Name] were in Nashville March 3-6 for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. The juniors were chosen by school guidance counselors and sponsored by [CO-OP NAME].

Delegates to the annual event receive a hands-on look at state government, learn networking and leadership skills and develop a better understanding of their local electric cooperatives.While in Nashville, the students visited the State Capitol Building where they were welcomed by members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Summit attendees also held a mock session in the Senate Chambers, debating and voting on a bill they developed.In addition to lawmakers, students also heard from Tennessee leaders like Miss Tennessee 2018 Christine Williamson; Adam Hammond, anchor for Nashville’s News Channel 5; and trooper Jeffrey Buchanan and K-9 Major with the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail.

The Youth Leadership Summit also included tours of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Murfreesboro and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Gallatin Steam Plant.

Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders in their hometowns and use their talents to improve rural Tennessee.

“Local electric co-ops, school officials and guidance counselors chose these deserving students to attend the summit based on their interests in government and strong leadership abilities,” says Todd Blocker, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association vice president of member relations and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “They will be the next generation of leaders in rural Tennessee, and we want to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities they will face.”

“These students will soon be our community leaders — and electric cooperative member-owners,” says [General Manager]. “We want them to share our passion for rural [REGION (West, Middle East)] Tennessee, so it is an honor for [CO-OP NAME] to help prepare them for the opportunities that are ahead. The future of our rural communities depends on a new generation of strong leaders like these.”

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By Kaley Lockwood

Although solar energy has been commercially available for decades, the evolution of the solar market has grown faster and more expansive than some originally anticipated. With the price of solar rapidly declining over the last several years, combined with the significant evolution of battery storage technology, new products and systems are now within the reach of more energy consumers. Let’s take a look at three of the latest improvements to better understand the solar energy landscape.

New Solar Cell Materials

Generally, when it comes to solar cell technology, there’s usually a trade-off between the efficiency of the solar cell, or the measure of sunlight that hits the panel and actually becomes electricity, and the cell’s flexibility. Perovskite solar cells are an emerging class of cells. They differ from common silicon solar cells in that they’re flexible and have a higher reported efficiency. Their efficiency is reportedly at 22.7 percent with the potential for 40 percent. To better understand these numbers, typical silicon photovoltaic cells generally achieve about 20 percent efficiency, meaning 20 percent of the solar energy that passes through the cell becomes electricity.

Perovskite solar cells also have a unique flexibility that allows for the material to be painted or sprayed on surfaces. This opens up infinite opportunities for solar energy generation. Perovskite cells are currently being tested and developed by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab.

Solar and Storage

With increasing interest in solar energy, there is also a parallel interest in residential battery storage. Many electric utilities are seeing their consumers with residential solar panels add batteries to their systems. By pairing storage with solar, batteries can provide limited to complete back-up during a power outage, depending on the size of the home and the device. For new solar installations, homeowners and utilities are increasingly including battery storage to maximize the potential of the solar energy system.

Solar Panel Technologies

One of Tesla’s more revolutionary offerings is its Solar Rooftop. Rather than installing traditional solar panels to a home’s rooftop, Tesla is giving homeowners the option of turning the entire roof into a solar energy generating system through solar roof tiles.

These extraordinary glass tiles come in various shades and sizes to compliment your home’s design and are reportedly three times more durable than the average rooftop shingle. Tesla backs up this guarantee with a warranty that lasts for the lifetime of your house. Because this technology is still very new, it has some maturing to do before it’s as deployable as traditional rooftop solar, but the future is looking bright.

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