NASHVILLE, Tenn, and BOLIVAR, Tenn. (March 21, 2023) – Today, Silicon Ranch Corporation, one of the nation’s largest independent power producers and a community-focused renewable energy company, and Bolivar Energy Authority (BEA) flipped the switch on the new 3.25-megawatt (MWAC) Bolivar Solar Farm in Hardeman County, Tennessee, along with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The solar facility will provide enough low-cost solar energy to power more than 500 homes and help keep rates low for BEA’s more than 11,000 customers.
The Flip the Switch event celebrates the completion of construction for the solar facility, which is now officially supplying power to the electric grid. Despite global supply chain constraints and other industry challenges, Silicon Ranch remained on schedule and delivered the project on time, expanding the company’s legacy of successful project execution.
The event was open to the public, and featured speakers from the community and organizations involved:
- Matt Kisber: Co-Founder and Chairman of Silicon Ranch
- Tony Kirk: President and CEO of BEA
- Ryan Leister: Director of Customer Relations western Tennessee at Tennessee Valley Authority
- Arlisa Armstrong, Tennessee Rural Development State Director at United States Department of Agriculture
In 2020, TVA began offering local power companies (LPCs) the flexibility to meet a portion of their power needs with local generating sources through its visionary generation flexibility program. As one of the first LPCs to execute a deal with TVA under those new terms, BEA chose Silicon Ranch as its partner for the solar project to help keep rates as low as possible for BEA customers and fully leverage the benefits that accompany such projects right here in Hardeman County.
“As a public power utility in the fifth largest county in Tennessee, BEA is extremely pleased to offer our community a low-cost, reliable energy solution from trusted local partners,” said Tony Kirk, BEA President and CEO. “TVA is enabling us and LPCs across the Valley to do just that through its generation flexibility program, by providing our community with the opportunity to partner with dependable, renewable energy providers like Silicon Ranch to procure local energy solutions. We are looking forward to continuing our long-term relationship with Silicon Ranch, as the company will own and operate the Bolivar Solar Farm for the entire lifetime of the project.”
“When TVA established our Flexibility Program, we hoped the new terms would facilitate these kinds of partnerships across the Valley. Along with our partners, we are dedicated to advancing this program to provide clean, cost-effective, reliable energy,” said Doug Perry, TVA Senior Vice President of Commercial Energy Solutions. “It is rewarding to see the completion of this solar facility and to witness the program in action across the Valley.”
On behalf of BEA and TVA, Silicon Ranch funded construction and will own, operate, and maintain the solar facility for the duration of its lifetime, a disciplined approach the company takes with every project it develops.
“This solar project with Bolivar Energy Authority showcases the power of partnerships, through TVA’s renowned generation flexibility program, not just in procuring more cost-effective, reliable renewable energy but also as engines of economic development for communities across the Valley,” said Matt Kisber, Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and Chairman. “Silicon Ranch takes great pride in our local Tennessee roots and looks forward to continuing our work with the Bolivar community as a trusted local neighbor and partner for years to come.”
The Bolivar Solar Farm was supported by the USDA through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) initiative, which provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to support agricultural producers and rural small businesses with renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. By working collaboratively with BEA and the USDA, Silicon Ranch was able to build on its legacy of choosing the right path over the easier path to get the job done, ensuring that BEA’s customers maximize the benefit from access to low-cost renewable energy provided through the project.
“USDA is excited to celebrate in today’s Flip the Switch ceremony for the Bolivar Solar Farm. This is a great investment for the community, city, and people of Bolivar and Hardeman County, Tenn.,” Arlisa Armstrong, Tennessee State Director said. “We are committed to partnering with our rural small businesses to help save on energy costs, make energy efficiency improvements, and combat the challenges of climate change. These investments will provide the necessary relief that our rural communities need for everyday living.”
About Silicon Ranch
Founded in 2011, Silicon Ranch is a fully integrated provider of customized renewable energy, carbon, and battery storage solutions for a diverse set of partners across North America. The company is one of the largest independent power producers in the country, with a portfolio that includes more than five gigawatts of solar and battery storage systems that are contracted, under construction, or operating across the U.S. and Canada. Silicon Ranch owns and operates every project in its portfolio and has maintained an unblemished track record of project execution, having successfully commissioned every project it has contracted in its history. Silicon Ranch has the largest utility-scale agrivoltaics portfolio in the country under Regenerative Energy®, its nationally recognized holistic approach to project design, construction, and land management. In 2021, Silicon Ranch acquired Clearloop, which helps businesses of all sizes reclaim their carbon footprint with a direct investment in building new solar projects while helping to bring renewable energy and economic development to distressed communities. Silicon Ranch pioneered utility-scale solar in the Tennessee Valley and remains a market leader, with more than 35 operating facilities and over 30 more under contract across the region. To learn more, visit siliconranch.com and clearloop.us. Follow Silicon Ranch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
About Bolivar Energy Authority
Bolivar Energy Authority serves Hardeman County and parts of Fayette, Chester, Madison counties (TN) and Benton County (MS). Total electric customers: 11,221. Residential customers; 9,010. General Power customers under 50KW demand; 2,093. General Power customers between 51 and 4,999KW demand; 118. The Bolivar Energy Authority covers 1,350 miles of power line with an average of 8 customers per mile.
About Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.
About USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. We offer loans, grants, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses lower energy costs. In August 2022, Congress passed the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. The IRA includes up to $2.025 billion for the REAP program. For more information, visit Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants | Rural Development (usda.gov)