BrightRidge, Silicon Ranch Corp. and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) broke ground for a new solar park currently under construction in western Washington County, Tennessee.
The 9 MW AC system is named Martin Solar Farm in honor of the late Ralph Martin, who served for many years as the director of the local energy company.
As the partners announced last September, the project is the first to enter the construction phase as part of TVA's new generation flexibility program, which aims to encourage local energy companies (LPCs) to develop new decentralized generation facilities. Martin Solar Farm will enable BrightRidge to generate clean energy to reduce costs and support community and economic development. The energy generated by the solar farm will first be offered to K-12 areas and college systems interested in meeting some of their electricity needs with cleaner energy sources.
“BrightRidge is honored to continue to lead the region in distributed solar generation through partnership agreements with TVA and Silicon Ranch,” said Jeff Dykes, CEO of BrightRidge. “These partnerships provide our customers with an efficient way to take full advantage of the benefits of clean energy while avoiding the long-term costs of custom systems. At the same time, we know that access to clean energy is an important long-term engine for economic opportunities in our region. ”
Silicon Ranch expects to invest several million dollars in private capital to build the Martin Solar Farm and will own and operate the facility for the long term, and the company takes the same approach with every project it develops. The project will be the second solar array on the BrightRidge system to be built in partnership with Silicon Ranch and TVA. In 2019, the partners put the Telford Solar Farm into operation as part of the former TVA Distributed Solar Solutions program.
Silicon Ranch expects to hire about 150 craftsmen to install a single-axis tracking system that will allow 25,000 solar panels with advanced bifacial technology to track the sun through its daily arc. As with all projects, Silicon Ranch will focus on hiring workers from the local community and the surrounding area. Once construction is completed later this year, Silicon Ranch will contribute significant tax revenue that will benefit the local tax base and support the local school district, according to Silicon Ranch.