Vanderbilt University invests in 35-MW solar project

Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Nashville Electric Service (NES), Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) and Silicon Ranch Corporation today kicked off a new solar farm now under construction in Bedford County, Tennessee. The 35 MWAC Vanderbilt I Solar Farm is expected to begin producing power before the end of 2022, bringing new renewable generation to the Tennessee Valley.

Originally announced in January 2020, the partnership was the first of its kind under TVA’s Green Invest Program, which matches green power demand from diverse corporate, industrial and organizational customers with new large-scale solar projects in the Valley.

“Today marks a milestone for the Tennessee Valley as we pioneer the first project ever developed under TVA’s Green Invest program, and we are excited to do so with Vanderbilt University, our long-term partners NES and DREMC , and our local renewable energy partner Silicon Ranch,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA Executive VP and Chief External Relations Officer. “Together with 153 local energy company partners, TVA is building the energy system of the future. Green Invest has positioned us to bring together renewable energy customers and partners who are all investing in our communities.”

In 2019, Vanderbilt announced its goal to fully power the campus from renewable energy and become carbon neutral by 2050. The Vanderbilt I’s renewable generation will offset approximately 70% of Vanderbilt University’s annual Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are excited to partner with TVA, NES and Silicon Ranch on this historic solar project, which we hope will provide a model of collaborative, forward-thinking solutions that can be adopted by other organizations in our region and across the globe.” country,” said Daniel Diermeier, chancellor of Vanderbilt University. “The Vanderbilt I Solar Farm will generate new jobs and tax revenue for the local community, as well as provide new teaching and research opportunities for our faculty and our students – setting a bold precedent for how we can continue to work together on behalf of our shared future.”

The Nashville-based Silicon Ranch is funding the project and plans to employ more than 250 craftsmen, the majority of whom will be recruited from the Bedford County area and the military veteran community, to install the facility. Silicon Ranch will also own, operate and maintain the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm.

“Several of our colleagues and I are proud Vanderbilt alumni, and we at Silicon Ranch applaud this world-class institution for its bold and thoughtful leadership,” said Matt Kisber, co-founder and president of Silicon Ranch. “Thanks to Vanderbilt’s commitment and the vision of our friends at TVA, NES and DREMC, Silicon Ranch is on track to invest more than $1 billion in renewable energy projects in the Tennessee Valley, and we are proud of this legacy from extend into Bedford County.”

To facilitate the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, Vanderbilt entered into an agreement with TVA and NES, the university’s local energy company. The solar project will be connected to the grid through the distribution system of another local power company, DREMC.

The Vanderbilt I Solar Farm will utilize Silicon Ranch’s regenerative energy land management model, a holistic approach to design, construction and operations that brings together renewable energy production with regenerative farming practices. Once the project is operational, Silicon Ranch will restore the land to a functioning grassland ecosystem while keeping the project in agricultural production through managed sheep grazing using regenerative land management practices.

News release from Silicon Ranch Corporation

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