by Matt Brown
At Silicon Ranch we pride ourselves on our ability and commitment to provide our customers across this country with innovative, custom-tailored solutions to fit their varied energy needs. For evidence of these efforts, one needs to look no further than the Millington Solar Farm located in our home state just outside of Memphis, Tennessee.
Consisting of 525,000 solar modules across 348 acres of private land Silicon Ranch purchased from the Millington Industrial Development Board and an additional 72 acres leased from the U.S. Navy, we flipped the switch on the 53 megawatt (MWac) Millington Solar Farm on April 23, 2019. The facility is the largest operating solar plant in the state and was the culmination of a unique public-private partnership between the City of Millington, the U.S. Navy, Memphis, Light, Gas and Water (MLGW), and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). These partners came together with a shared vision to support the local community and the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South.
Like all of our projects, Silicon Ranch owns, operates, and maintains this PV plant which provides reliable, resilient power to the NSA Mid-South and TVA – producing enough power to serve the energy needs of roughly 7,500 homes, and our facility will continue to do so at cost-competitive rates for the next two decades under a twenty-year Power Purchase Agreement.
In addition to the unique partnership that brought about the Millington Solar Farm, earlier this year Silicon Ranch began implementing Regenerative Energy® with the release of 1,000 ewes, in partnership with Savory Hub and renowned regenerative rancher Trent Hendricks of Cabriejo Ranch.
Regenerative Energy® is Silicon Ranch’s innovative holistic standard of excellence for the design, construction, and operation of solar farms. By combining clean electricity generation with carbon sequestration and ecosystem restoration, Regenerative Energy® keeps land housing PV plants in agricultural production while enriching soil and supporting rural economies.
Since its inception less than two years ago, Regenerative Energy® has scaled from a 50-acre pilot to a 2,500-acre program, including the world’s only solar energy projects located on land that has been verified as ‘regenerative’ by the Savory Institute. The replicable platform will grow to more than 6,000 acres by the end of this year. This past July our efforts with Regenerative Energy® earned Silicon Ranch 2020’s “Most Forward Thinking” award by Solar Power World.
All in all, construction of the Millington Solar Farm has resulted in millions of dollars of investment in the local economy and employed more than 300 people.
We are honored each and every time we are afforded the opportunity to serve our home state of Tennessee and likewise our nation’s armed forces, which are just two reasons why this particular project is so near and dear to our hearts. The Millington Solar Farm is a testament to what can be achieved when partners work together with a commitment to community-centric collaboration. It is through such partnerships that we are able to provide clean customized renewable energy solutions to a diverse array of customers and meet their equally distinct needs. Additionally, through this commitment to our communities and to collaboration, we are able to maximize the positive impact on these same communities via a focus on local investment, job creation, and stewardship of the land in an ongoing effort to drive the solar industry forward.
About Matt Brown
Matt Brown has more than 13 years of experience in the renewable energy sector, starting at TVA where he helped develop, manage, and implement programs and policies for the nation’s largest public power provider. During that tenure, Matt worked closely with local power companies and economic development officials across the Valley ensuring that communities maximize their potential for reliable solar and renewable energy benefits. Since 2014, he has served as Silicon Ranch’s Vice President of Business Development working on projects throughout the Southeast and across the country. In addition, Matt serves as Utility Relations CoChair for the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) and has been on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) for the past 5 years, currently serving as Vice President on its Executive Committee. Matt has broad and versatile experience in working in the solar industry, from residential programs and community-solar opportunities to utility scale solar farms. His passion is working with local utilities, communities, and economic development partners to bring win-win-win solar solutions for all parties.