Silicon Ranch will build a 9-MW solar project in western Washington County, Tennessee, for local electric utility BrightRidge under a 20-year PPA with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Historically, local power companies were required to sell all electricity they generated directly to TVA. This year, TVA included a flexible generation provision in its new contracts with local power companies that enables LPCs to generate clean energy to lower costs and support their communities.
“Generation flexibility is something we have strongly encouraged for quite some time as a way to allow local power companies to respond to the specific needs of our business and residential customers,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “We know an important segment of our community is very interested in alternative forms of cleaner energy generation. At the same time, we are seeing across the country that having adequate solar generation available is a critical economic development recruitment tool.”
BrightRidge led the way in Northeast Tennessee solar production under the former TVA Distributed Solar Solutions program, partnering with Nashville-based solar producer Silicon Ranch for the region’s first 5-MW Solar Farm in Telford, which went online early in 2019. BrightRidge’s share of production from the Telford Solar Farm is distributed under a Community Solar program with residential and commercial customers.
“Silicon Ranch is honored to expand our relationship with BrightRidge, which represents the best of public power through its commitment to deliver value to the customers and communities it serves,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr. “Today truly marks a milestone, not only for this community and our partners, but also for the entire Tennessee Valley. We applaud TVA for empowering LPCs to leverage low-cost renewable energy to meet customer needs and recruit new business.”
The new project will be offered to area schools and institutions interested in offsetting some of their electricity needs with cleaner energy sources, while avoiding ongoing maintenance and operational concerns.
“If approved, our area school systems could save significant dollars on their power costs, lowering the cost to taxpayers who support those systems,” Dykes said. “This is truly a win-win project for the community.”
Under the new power contract, BrightRidge can build or buy up to 5% of its annual electric load capacity in generation.
The Martin Solar Farm, located on 100 acres in western Washington County, is anticipated to be completed and online at the end of 2021. The project is named after the late Ralph Martin, who served many years as director of the Johnson City Power Board, which became BrightRidge in 2017.
News item from BrightRidge