KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Valley Authority confirmed Thursday that the new 70-megawatt solar facility in Madison County, Tennessee, announced in February will support Facebook’s operations in the region. TVA is partnering with Nashville-based solar developer Silicon Ranch to develop the carbon-free energy.
“TVA is building the energy system of the future, and we are leading the charge by contracting 1,300 megawatts of utility scale solar in the past two years,” said Chris Hansen, TVA vice president, Origination & Renewables. “This public-private partnership demonstrates the strength of TVA’s public power model to deliver clean, renewable energy at a competitive price to stimulate investment and jobs that help communities grow across the seven states we serve.”
Silicon Ranch will fund construction of the solar facility and will own and operate the plant. The project will create more than 350 construction jobs, with additional employment for ongoing operations and maintenance, including ranchers and farmers to care for the land as part of Silicon Ranch’s holistic approach to land management.
The facility is expected to come online in fall 2022, with planned interconnection to the TVA grid through the Jackson Energy Authority distribution system, pending environmental reviews.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with TVA and Silicon Ranch to bring this new solar facility to the grid in support of our operations in the Tennessee Valley,” said Urvi Parekh, head of Renewable Energy at Facebook. “The nearly 450 megawatts of new solar energy we are developing with TVA is an important part of our goal to support our global operations with 100% renewable energy.”
Facebook will support all of its operations with 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020. The Madison County project is part of TVA’s Green Invest program, which helps customers like Facebook meet their long-term sustainability goals with new renewable energy projects.
In 2018, Facebook was proud to collaborate with TVA to pioneer the Green Invest program. Since January, Green Invest has generated $1.6 billion in economic activity in TVA’s service territory.
“The Tennessee Valley is our home, and Silicon Ranch is honored to be part of this compelling economic development story with TVA, Facebook, JEA, and the Jackson Chamber that demonstrates what’s possible when we work together with a shared vision for the entire region,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr. “We’ve been proud to partner with Facebook to supply renewable energy to its state-of-the-art data center in Georgia, and today we’re thrilled to support Facebook’s operations right here in the Valley. Moreover, we are grateful to expand our meaningful relationship with TVA and look forward to collaborating on this innovative, customer-driven renewable energy solution.”
This Facebook announcement comes on the heels of three other major Green Invest deals this year: General Motors, Vanderbilt University, and Knoxville Utilities Board.
TVA is a national leader in carbon reduction – double the national utility average. This year over 60% of TVA’s electricity is from carbon-free generation. To add to TVA’s clean generation, the utility announced earlier this year an option to purchase approximately 3,000 acres in North Alabama to facilitate development of utility scale solar.
“We are on the forefront of a great change that is sweeping the energy industry, and TVA’s innovation has positioned us to help communities and businesses meet their sustainability goals while attracting high-quality jobs to our region,” said Hansen.
“Sustainability is an important aspect of the electric industry and our community’s culture,” said Jim Ferrell, President and CEO of Jackson Energy Authority. “This solar farm is the largest project to date in JEA’s service territory. It will supply carbon-free solar power for many years to come and is a project that JEA is proud to be a part of.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies 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.
Nashville-based 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 135 facilities across 14 states from New York to California, including the first large-scale solar projects in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas.