Construction begins on 9-MW solar project under new TVA distributed generation program
BrightRidge, Silicon Ranch and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) broke ground Tuesday morning at a new solar farm in western Washington County, Tennessee. The 9-MWac facility will be named the Martin Solar Farm in honor of the late Ralph Martin, who was a director of the local energy company for many years.
As the partners announced last September, the project will be the first to enter the construction phase under TVA’s new Generation Flexibility Program, which is designed to encourage local power companies (LPCs) to develop new distributed generation facilities. The Martin Solar Farm allows BrightRidge to generate clean energy to reduce costs and support community and economic development.
The energy produced by the Martin Solar Farm will first be offered to K-12 and higher education systems interested in offsetting some of their electricity needs with cleaner energy sources.
“BrightRidge is honored to continue to lead the region in distributed solar energy through partnerships with TVA and Silicon Ranch,” said Jeff Dykes, CEO of BrightRidge. “These partnerships provide our customers with an efficient way to access clean energy benefits at scale, while avoiding the long-term costs of individually owned and operated facilities. At the same time, we know that access to clean energy is an important long-term driver of economic opportunities in our region.”
Silicon Ranch expects to invest several million dollars in private capital to build the Martin Solar Farm and will own and operate the array for the long term. The project will be the second solar power plant on the BrightRidge system, built in partnership with Silicon Ranch and TVA. In 2019, the partners commissioned the Telford Solar Farm under the former TVA Distributed Solar Solutions program.
“Under the visionary leadership of CEO Jeff Dykes and his board of directors, BrightRidge continues to represent the best of public power and is truly at the forefront of the Flexibility Program here in the Tennessee Valley,” said Matt Kisber, co-founder of Silicon Ranch. . founder and chairman. “Silicon Ranch is honored to expand our partnership with BrightRidge through this landmark project, and we applaud TVA for enabling all LPCs to use low-cost renewable energy to meet customer needs and recruit new businesses .”
Silicon Ranch expects to employ about 150 craftsmen to install a uniaxial tracking system that will make 25,000 two-sided solar panels to track the sun across its diurnal arc.
“TVA is a leader in low-cost carbon reduction, and partners like BrightRidge and Silicon Ranch are needed to help us transition to a cleaner energy future,” Doug Perry, senior VP, TVA Commercial Energy Solutions. “TVA plans to achieve a 70% CO2 reduction by 2030, and BrightRidge’s Martin Solar Farm will be a beacon to attract jobs and investment in the community.”
As with all projects, Silicon Ranch will focus on hiring employees from the local community and surrounding region. Once construction is completed at the end of 2021, the project will produce enough carbon-free electricity to power more than 1,000 households. In addition, Silicon Ranch will contribute significant tax revenues that contribute to the local tax base and help support the local school district.
“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for East Tennessee,” said Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger. “This investment will create more jobs in our community and hopefully attract further investment. I want to thank Jeff Dykes and the team at BrightRidge for supporting our community.”
News item from BrightRidge