The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) recently signed a long-term power purchase agreement with Silicon Ranch Corp, a Nashville-based renewable energy provider and one of the top 15 solar owner-operators in the U.S.
As part of the agreement, Silicon Ranch will finance and build a futuristic $100 million dollar, 53 megawatt large-scale solar facility at Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tennessee. The site currently serves as the Navy’s Human Resources Center of Excellence and employs more than 7,500 military, civilian, and contract personnel.
The solar project will include approximately 580,000 solar panels and occupy over 400 acres of land. Once completed, it will be the largest solar farm in the state and provide power for up to 7,500 homes.
TVA officials expect the new solar facility to provide its customers with power at cost-competitive rates for the next 20 years. The capacity generated will also support the Department of the Navy’s (DON) Strategy for Renewable Energy, which calls for the DON to get at least 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
“TVA is committed to providing renewable energy in a way that best serves our local power company customers and the more than nine million people of the Tennessee Valley,” said Van Wardlaw, TVA Executive Vice President of External Relations. “This solar project supports our commitment to a diversified and cleaner energy portfolio, which includes energy efficiency and competitively priced renewable energy.”
Building the Solar Farm of the Future
In order to build the facility, Silicon Ranch acquired 330 acres from the Millington Industrial Development Board and also signed a real estate lease with the Department of the Navy for an additional 72 acres of base land at NSA Mid-South. Silicon Ranch will own and operate the facility throughout the life of the agreement.
“This solar facility helps NSA Mid-South progress toward our goal of becoming the Navy’s premier support installation through maintaining excellence in our facilities and services,” said Capt. David Bryson, commanding officer of NSA Mid-South.
Steven R. Iselin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installation and Environment, remarked: “Diversified power and electrical infrastructure upgrades not only increase NSA Mid-South’s operational stability and efficiency, but also benefit national security and the environment.”
A Collaborative and Worthwhile Partnership
To develop the project, Silicon Ranch worked closely with the Department of the Navy, the Millington Industrial Development Board, Memphis Light, Gas and Water, and TVA.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the solar project was held on April 22, 2016, in conjunction with Earth Day, and the new facility is expected to be operational by mid-year 2018.
Terry Jones, the Mayor of Millington, said that as a result of the cleaner, more resilient energy in the area, he expects the quality of life, jobs, and industry in Millington to improve.
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