Millington II Solar Farm
Overview of Millington II Solar Farm (Project in Development)
Below is a project map that provides an aerial map visual of the site’s location.
TVA awards project
Q4 2020 – Q3 2022
Environmental Reviews and Permitting
Q3 2023 – Q3 2024
Construction of project
Project is operational
Frequently Asked Questions About the Millington II Solar Farm
Have questions about the Millington II Solar Farm? We’ve compiled a list of common questions about the site, including project facts, maps, and more.
Click on the tabs below to learn more about each subject.
With the support of Shelby County officials, TVA contracted Silicon Ranch to build, own, and operate the Millington II Solar Farm to achieve its renewable energy commitments as part of its ongoing mission to improve the quality of life for people living in the Valley “by providing safe, clean, reliable and affordable electricity and supporting a robust, award-winning economic development policy that has created prosperous communities throughout our region.” This project was awarded to Silicon Ranch, which was founded and is headquartered in the Tennessee Valley, based on the company’s proven track record of delivering 100% of its contracted projects and its deep commitment to the communities it serves.
When we are searching for land to use for a project, we consider several requirements. The land must be relatively flat land, big enough to house the facility, and near an electrical substation or distribution level transmission lines. We choose properties that meet these requirements. This site meets each of those criteria.
The project will benefit TVA, and its and its customers, by providing a reliable and cost-effective source of energy. The entire community will benefit from significant new tax revenues. As the long-term owner of the land where this facility is located, Silicon Ranch is a local taxpayer for the life of the project, while requiring little to no county services in return. In other words, the taxes generated from the project are entirely additive to the tax base. The new revenues support infrastructure, local schools, and other community identified priorities, both immediately and for the long-term. The company expects to make a capital investment of around $200 million in the community through the construction of these projects and to pay more than $4 million dollars in property taxes as the long-term landowner over the life of the 20-year lifetime of the contracted power purchase agreement.
Silicon Ranch maintains a commitment to own and operate every one of our solar projects for the long-term. In the 12-year history of the company, Silicon Ranch has never sold a project, which means Millington can be confident that Silicon Ranch will stand behind the performance of the project day in and day out as a long-term member of the community.
Solar photovoltaic panels are made of tempered glass and pass rigorous hail and other weather testing. The two most common types of solar panels—silicon-based and thin film—are both required to pass the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Leaching Characteristic Procedure test, meaning that these panels are nonhazardous.
When we search for land for a project, we take several factors into account. The land needs to be relatively flat, of the right scale to meet the needs of our utility partners, and near an electrical substation or distribution level transmission lines. We choose properties that meet these requirements and then work with the landowner to negotiate a price to purchase the property.
Silicon Ranch’s decision to purchase property rather than lease it (which is what most developers do) underscores the company’s long-term commitment to the communities we serve. Many community leaders point to this differentiated approach when asked why they prefer to work with Silicon Ranch. For example, when Silicon Ranch purchased the site for a solar facility in a rural community in southwest Georgia, the Chair of the County Commission said, “When they purchased the property here, they became owners, just like anyone else who owns a house or owns land. They are taxpayers, they are part of the community just like I am.”
Silicon Ranch typically uses the term solar farm, solar project, solar facility, or solar ranch. “solar farm” is a term that is commonly used in the industry to describe the way solar uses land and the sun to harvest a “crop” in the form of energy generation.
Silicon Ranch expects to invest around $200 million to construct the facility. The project requires no capital investment from the community or the utility.
Our project will inject the county with significant new tax revenues—over $4 million—immediately and for the life of the contracted power purchase agreement (20 years). These revenues will support infrastructure and other community-identified priorities and will continue for the duration of the project. During this time, we will also be minimal users of county services such as roads, water, etc. Our significant capital investment in the facility results in higher property taxes paid by Silicon Ranch to the county.
It is a common misconception that ground-mounted solar farms decrease nearby property values.
Third-party studies examining property value in states across the United States demonstrate that large-scale solar arrays have no measurable impact on the value of adjacent properties, and in some cases may even have positive effects. Additionally, proximity to solar farms does not deter the sales of agricultural or residential land.
Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a part of normal life from the appliances used in our homes to the cell phones we use and the electrical lines in our neighborhoods. Exposure to low-level EMFs has been studied extensively, and there is no evidence that it is harmful to human health, according to the World Health Organization.
Electricity from solar panels and transmission to the power grid emits extremely weak EMFs. At the perimeter fencing of a solar project, the EMF exposure is far lower than that found inside a typical home.
From natural gas to coal to solar, all parts of the energy sector receive some form of government support. These incentives enable new technologies to grow and scale to a point where they can compete on a level-playing field. In the case of solar, the only federal incentive is in the form of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
Silicon Ranch utilizes the Solar ITC in our fully integrated model that yields a seamless process through development, construction, and operation of our facilities. Our projects require no up-front capital from customers or the communities where facilities are located. In fact, because Silicon Ranch becomes a property owner and taxpayer in the community, a project will prove a net positive for the local tax base of the surrounding community. Additionally, as solar is the lowest-cost form of new electricity generation, ratepayers benefit from the ITC through lower electricity rates.
As a safety feature, a six foot tall chain link fence with barbed wire will surround the solar facility.
The project will interconnect to an existing 161kV TVA transmission line located adjacent the property.
No. Silicon Ranch constructs Photovoltaic facilities, which absorb solar energy rather than reflecting it, and therefore do not heat up.
There are companies that place solar panels on top of warehouses, commercial buildings, and residential houses, but this is not what Silicon Ranch does. The first part to consider is location – utility scale PV plants need to be near a viable transmission or distribution line to allow for connection to the grid to prevent needing long, expensive transmission lines. Additionally, consolidating the PV plant into a concentrated location allows for more efficient and effective connection to the grid. The second part to consider is the size – large warehouses tend to be anywhere between 500,000 – 1,000,000 square feet, which is approximately 12 – 24 acres. Silicon Ranch aims to build utility scale PV plants which require larger areas to generate the amount of energy necessary. Another factor is that not all existing buildings were designed or built to hold the structural load of a PV plant on the rooftops.
While there are companies that build PV plants on landfills, Silicon Ranch does not do so because building PV plants on landfills presents permitting and construction challenges, environmental challenges, such as avoiding damage to the landfill capping system, and engineering challenges, such as potential settlement of the landfill area that can lead to structural damage to the solar generating equipment.
We aim to deliver power into the communities that the power will serve. Each community has a range of siting options available, including both rooftop and ground mounted. In addition to questions of scale and structural stability, rooftop is by far the most expensive option for the installation of solar energy. Ground-mounted solar energy is the lowest cost form of new electricity generation in the United States today, and it is an important energy source for helping to keep rates low.
This will depend on the time of day, but generally, no more than ten feet high. The panels will rotate to follow the sun throughout the day. At the beginning and end of the day, the solar panels will be at their highest as they will be angled 60 degrees. Around lunchtime, the panels will be at their lowest.
In addition to following local ordinances around property setbacks (which will be 60’ from the edge of Center College Rd, and 40’ from all other roads & property lines) and building guidelines, Silicon Ranch also provides a vegetative buffer in some instances to shield the view of a facility.
The supporting structures that hold the modules are designed to withstand wind loads of 105-120 mph.
We take intentional steps in our facility design, operations, and land management to ensure that stormwater runoff from the site will be reduced or not increased from the conditions that exist when we buy the property.
Most of our projects are proposed at sites where the existing land is agricultural, wooded, or a combination of both. Once the solar plant is constructed, impervious surfaces (foundation pads, equipment, gravel roadways, etc.) will cover a relatively minor amount of the land housing it; most of the land will be meadow-like. So, while solar panels will be installed on the land, the stormwater will flow off the panels and across the vegetation, allowing for the water to infiltrate and evaporate or be absorbed and replenish the aquifer. Moreover, our regenerative land management practices increase vegetative cover and build soil organic matter and looser soils, leading to more water infiltration, increased water retention, and less stormwater runoff.
The reduction in stormwater runoff peak flow will improve downstream flooding issues. Existing natural resources (e.g., wetlands, ponds, streams, floodplains, etc.) and associated buffer areas are field identified, delineated, reviewed by the appropriate agencies, and marked during construction to be protected. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to temporarily or permanently impact a natural resource to facilitate a crossing location (e.g., access road-stream crossing). In these situations, all necessary permits are acquired and associated mitigative measures are implemented.
It is anticipated that as many as 150 construction jobs will be created, and Silicon Ranch maintains a strong preference for hiring locally and from the military veteran community.
Once the projects are approved, our Project Delivery team will look to continuing our work with local partners, such as Shelby County, to develop a plan to engage qualified, local firms and invite them to bid on the projects. There will also be announcements regarding job fairs for local residents interested in working on the projects.
And make sure to go to the Contact Us page and fill out the Contact form, and a project representative will reach out with more details on available work and the timing of proposals.
There will be some truck and trailer traffic during the construction of the project, including 18-wheelers delivering supplies during the installation. Access to the site will be through several internal property roads that come off of Bethuel Rd. and Center College Rd. Silicon Ranch will coordinate to provide a more precise operation schedule as the construction of a specific project approaches. Once operational, the site is remotely monitored and rarely visited except for periodic and routine maintenance. This is usually accomplished with 1-2 pick-up trucks or vans, depending on the crew.
It is anticipated that as many as 150 craft workers will be hired to build this project, and Silicon Ranch maintains a strong preference for hiring from the local labor pool and the military veteran community. Likewise, we always prefer to hire qualified, local firms when possible and have a strong track record of doing so.
For construction, the contractor for this project will most likely find a local company to remove waste. They have not yet contracted with a waste management company for this project. Once the contractor is selected, we will work with them on a waste management plan.
Yes, we always prefer to hire qualified, local firms when possible.
Silicon Ranch has a systematic approach to health and safety and is committed to the goal of zero recordable safety incidents. Accordingly, the team gives every consideration to safety and control measures as part of overall project design. In addition to his 25+ years of environmental, health and safety experience, Silicon Ranch’s Director of Environmental, Health, Safety, and Security—Jim Barfield, CSP, CHST—has deep credentials to lead the company’s approach to safety. Along with qualifications that include BSCP certifications, FEMA incident command, accident investigation, and OSHA 30 qualifications, he is a veteran of the United States Army as a Health Specialist of Preventative Medicine where he educated personnel on pathogen exposure, disease and occupational illness prevention, enforced military regulations governing sanitary practice and industrial hygiene, and investigated and controlled sources of pathogen and toxin exposure both inside and outside of United States borders.
This project will follow and adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations including fencing, electric codes, and signage. Additionally, the project will be monitored 24/7 so that any disturbance to the system can be quickly and safely acted upon.
Once construction commences, external to the site, we will post appropriate warnings in traffic ways to alert drivers of impending truck entrances to the roadway. Internal to the site there will be controls in place to regulate vehicle and heavy equipment on site.
The materials and components that comprise a solar energy generating facility are not hazardous to humans. Protection of the environment is very important to Silicon Ranch.
There is noise associated with the construction of the project, but Silicon Ranch seeks to minimize any potential disruption by limiting construction activities to normal business hours. Once operational, the site does not generate appreciable noise. The inverters have a quiet hum when the plant is generating during daylight hours, but the noise will not be audible beyond the property line. The inverters are typically located centrally on the project site, far enough away from neighboring houses to be imperceptible.
A solar farm is a collection of interconnected solar panels that are strategically placed to maximize their ability to capture sunlight and convert it to electricity. Sunlight contains little packets of energy called photons. When photons from the sun reach the solar panels, it causes energy electrons within those panels to move and in turn create an electrical current. That electric current is then sent to an inverter which converts it from DC to AC. That power is then pushed out from the solar site onto the transmission lines where the electricity is then distributed to households and businesses.
Once operational, the site does not generate any noise that can be heard outside the facility fencing. The inverters have a quiet hum, not unlike that heard from a residential transformer. We have 60’-40’ setbacks around the exterior of the site, with a 100’ setback from the interior parcel. Given the project size and location of the inverters within the fenced array, this will be imperceptible.
Solar modules are designed to absorb (rather than reflect) as much light as possible and are covered with a protective layer of anti-reflective matte glass.
No. Responsible solar development can actually enhance, not harm, wildlife habitat.
Silicon Ranch’s approach to land management has demonstrated that responsible solar development can, in fact, enhance the protection of wildlife habitat. Evidence reveals it is demonstrably improving wildlife habitat, specifically through an increase in bobwhite quail populations at those projects sited on previously cotton-peanut-corn farms in Jeff Davis County, Georgia (Hazlehurst I/II/III), where the previous regime of intensive tillage and herbicide use damaged populations over the past 80 years. With a transition to zero soil disturbance after construction, perennial vegetation, and properly timed mowing events, these solar projects create ground nesting bird habitat where bobwhite quail and other wildlife thrive. These healthy populations then spill over into adjacent hunting properties, where neighbors share in the benefit of this work.
In addition, Silicon Ranch has developed and funded a private Gopher Tortoise Sanctuary in partnership with GA DNR on its privately owned lands in Clay County, GA. Working together, Silicon Ranch and GA DNR have relocated several tortoise from surrounding projects, and have room for more. This solar company takes wildlife habitat very seriously, and its investment in this sanctuary is testament.
In Lee County, GA Silicon Ranch is creating hunting corridors by partnering with the local community to utilize an out parcel of its property. Moreover, the company intentionally designed in wildlife corridors at the project site.
Our Regenerative Energy platform is an outcome driven, third-party verified holistic standard of excellence for the design, construction, and operation of solar farms.
For our ecological monitoring efforts, we will contract with Cabriejo Ranch, a world-renowned regenerative ranch and a Savory Institute Hub, to take soil samples and perform the short- and long-term ecological monitoring work. We measure and third-party verify our ecological outcomes using the Savory Institute’s Land to Market Ecological Outcome Verification assessment methodology, which was developed in collaboration with leading soil scientists, ecologists, agronomists, and an extensive network of regenerative land managers around the world. This methodology measures the health of the land as a living system. In 2021 the Savory Institute certified land housing ten Silicon Ranch solar facilities as ‘regenerative’, the first and only solar land to receive this certification.
If we conduct a soil carbon project at Millington II, we will contract with Earth Optics to measure soil carbon. The soil is also tested at four laboratories, including one for agriculture analysis, during our Geotechnical testing prior to construction.
Yes, the project will follow and adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations including fencing, electric codes, and signage. Additionally, the project will be monitored 24/7 so that any disturbance to the system can be quickly and safely acted upon.
While most of the jobs created are related to the construction of the facility, it is anticipated that two to three additional jobs for ongoing maintenance will be created.
Our goal at Silicon Ranch is to leave the land as good, if not better, than when we initially find it.
Silicon Ranch recognizes that every site on which it locates a solar facility is unique and that each project must fit into the surrounding ecosystem and within the local community context. Through our Regenerative Energy® platform, a holistic approach to project design, construction, and operations, Silicon Ranch marries solar energy generation with regenerative land management practices that promote long-term, deep-rooted vegetation and plant growth cycles. This approach not only multiplies the typical beneficial outcomes of a solar project but also creates new benefits, including healing degraded soils, improving ecosystem function, and increasing biodiversity of both plants and wildlife, as well as pollinator habitat.
We recognize West Tennessee’s pride in the unique ecosystems that make up the region and will implement the appropriate regenerative land management practices to continue that legacy, in partnership with the Shelby County community and surrounding area.
Silicon Ranch aims to refrain from the use of any pesticides at this project, as we do at all of our projects, unless required by state law where the project is located to mitigate noxious weeds determined injurious to agricultural or horticultural crops or, in some instances, to prevent small targeted amounts of vegetation from growing up into equipment that would interfere with plant performance and impede the facility’s ability to deliver power to serve homes and businesses in the long-term. When circumstances require that we use pesticides, Silicon Ranch is committed to minimizing our use, meaning that we only spot spray EPA approved herbicides – which are commonly used on timber farms – when required. We never broadcast spray herbicides or pesticides.
We recognize that our responsibility as a good neighbor doesn’t stop at our fence line. Rather than viewing the land housing our solar projects as a liability, we recognize that land and vegetation are valuable natural resources and biological assets. When land and vegetation are managed properly, and in alignment with natural systems, we can revitalize soils, restore grassland ecosystems, increase biodiversity, sequester carbon, improve water quality, and build better solar facilities. Ultimately, through our Regenerative Energy approach, our goal is to leave the land better than we found it.
We recognize West Tennessee’s pride in the unique ecosystems that make up the region and we are committed to designing, building, and operating our solar facility in a way that continues that legacy, in partnership with Shelby County and the surrounding area.
The project is designed with reliability and the highest performance in mind over its 40-year useful life. This 40-year view means we design the entire plant and select equipment to last up to 40 years. Unlike some developers who may focus more on meeting minimum design criteria to reduce short-term costs, Silicon Ranch places more emphasis on reliability and the requirements of long-term ownership.
At the end of 40 years, the project will either be repowered with new solar equipment or decommissioned. If the project is decommissioned, all system components will be removed and the ground will be stabilized. All costs associated with the decommissioning process will be the responsibility of Silicon Ranch, not the community or local government. As Silicon Ranch will continue to own the property and will remain a member of the community, we are invested in ensuring that decommissioning will occur safely and responsibly, and that the site remains in excellent condition.
Silicon Ranch will purchase solar panels for this project with end-of-life in mind and will seek the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible path for recycling modules at their end of life.
We are committed to leading industry advancements in recycling. To process-end-of life solar modules from Silicon Ranch projects, we have partnered with two pioneers in US-based solar industry panel recycling: SOLARCYCLE, which offers an advanced recycling platform that recovers approximately 95% of the value of solar panel materials, including glass and aluminum, as well as silicon, copper, and silicon, and First Solar, which recovers approximately 90 percent of materials. Recovered module materials will help fuel the growing U.S. solar manufacturing industry with a domestic supply of materials essential to the production of new solar panels.
Our industry leading recycling partnerships support our commitments to advance domestic solar manufacturing, a circular solar economy, and economic development opportunities in communities across the country.
Currently, the remaining part of the panels, which are made of plastics, do not have much value. SOLARCYCLE is committed to zero waste, however, and they have found off-takers who will use the plastic for secondary applications to avoid sending panel materials to a landfill.
What is it like to live next to one of our solar farms?
Hear about it firsthand from our neighbors in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
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