JOHNSON CITY, AUGUST 17, 2018—BrightRidge, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Silicon Ranch broke ground Friday morning on the Tri-Cities’ first community solar project, a 5-megawatt solar farm outside of Jonesborough near Telford.
Joined by BrightRidge board members, officials and the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce at the site, BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes announced that 500 kilowatts of the project capacity will be offered exclusively to BrightRidge customers on a monthly or long-term lease basis in lieu of installing solar panels directly on a business, school or residential property.
“Many of our commercial and residential customers are unable to access the benefits of solar because they can’t afford the cost of installation, live in multifamily buildings, or their rooftops cannot support the weight of solar panels,” Dykes said. “BrightRidge is pleased to lead the way with a community solar offering that provides access to all of our customers, regardless of circumstance, so they can purchase clean power direct without the expense and upkeep of installing panels on their private property.”
Silicon Ranch expects to invest millions of dollars in private capital to build the solar farm, which should generate about 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, with zero carbon emissions and zero water consumption.
“As Tennessee’s largest independent solar power producer, Silicon Ranch is honored to partner with BrightRidge and TVA to generate low-cost, clean energy and support economic development in our home state,” said Silicon Ranch CEO Matt Kisber. “We’re currently building solar farms from Memphis to the Tri-Cities, proving that solar has a bright future in the Tennessee Valley.”
When completed by the end of the year, the project will produce enough carbon-free electricity to power more than 500 homes over the course of a year as weather conditions permit. Approximately 40 acres will be covered by solar panels.
“Access to clean, renewable energy is a key factor for many potential businesses and industries looking to locate in our region,” Dykes said. “Facilities like this one help ensure our region remains competitive nationally in economic development.”
The solar facility, owned by Silicon Ranch and constructed by McCarthy Building Companies, will deploy 41,760 solar panel modules manufactured by First Solar. These modules will be mounted on 2,262 single-axis piles guided by 174 trackers. In all, 88 inverters will convert the generated electricity to alternating current prior to delivery to the grid.
“This project is more than clean, low-cost energy – it demonstrates the value of public power by directly connecting our community with a cleaner future,” said Jay Stowe, senior vice president of Distributed Energy Resources for TVA. “Over the next 20 years TVA plans to invest about $8 billion to support our renewable energy portfolio to help our customers meet their carbon reduction goals.”
During construction, McCarthy will hire approximately 50-100 mostly local workers. Since the project is privately owned by Silicon Ranch, it is also net positive for the local tax base with minimal demands placed on public infrastructure. For more information and sign-up details on the BrightRidge Community Solar offering, please visit www.BrightRidge.com. BrightRidge is the 10th largest public power provider in the Tennessee Valley Authority system, and serves more than 78,000 customers in Washington, Sullivan, Carter and Greene counties.
About Silicon Ranch Corporation: Silicon Ranch is the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of the largest independent solar power producers in the country. Silicon Ranch develops to own all of its projects for the long-term, a distinction that means the company is deeply committed to its partners and communities and stands behind the performance of its facilities day in and day out. The company’s operating portfolio includes more than 120 facilities across 14 states from New York to California, including the first large-scale solar projects in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas. To learn more, please visit www.siliconranch.com and follow on Twitter @SiliconRanchCo.
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