April 29, 2019, by Renewable Energy World Editors
Last week, independent power producer Silicon Ranch Corporation said that the 53-MW solar array that it built in partnership with the City of Millington, the U.S. Navy, Memphis, Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is now operational. It’s the largest solar power plant in the state.
The project is located in Millington, Tennessee and Silicon Ranch said it employed 300 people to construct it. Power from the project will go to Naval Support Academy (NSA) Mid-South and TVA, who will be purchasing the energy at “cost-competitive rates” for the next 20 years, according to Silicon Ranch.
As part of the public-private partnership, Silicon Ranch signed a long-term lease with the U.S. Navy for 72 acres of base land and purchased an adjacent 348 acres from the Millington Industrial Development Board (MIDB). While the majority of the solar array is located on the adjacent private land, the naval installation received a brand new alternative electrical feed that will increase energy security and resilience at NSA Mid-South.
Underscoring the significance of the landmark project, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said, “Partnerships fuel innovation, and we are proud of the work by community leaders, the U.S. Navy, and Silicon Ranch to expand solar technology in West Tennessee. We look forward to a continued partnership as we strengthen rural Tennessee, modernize our infrastructure, and prepare for the jobs of the future.”
NSA Mid-South Commanding Officer Capt. Alonza “Al” Ross said, “This solar project represents progress toward our goal of becoming the Navy’s premier installation through maintaining excellence in our facilities and services. It enhances our ability to manage our most important asset—our people—and helps us perform the critical function of supporting warfighter capabilities and readiness.”
TVA Vice President of Commercial Energy Solutions Doug Perry said, “TVA recognizes that renewable energy is a tremendous asset in terms of economic and environmental benefits. With more than 50 percent of our generating portfolio carbon-free, the NSA Mid-South solar installation reflects TVA’s ongoing commitment to a diversified, cleaner energy mix that best serves the power needs of nearly 10 million residents of the Tennessee Valley.”