TVA, Silicon Ranch begin work on 70 MW Solar to benefit Facebook owner operations in Tennessee

March 30, 2022
The $90 million solar farm will help power Meta/Facebook's operations in the region. Silicon Ranch will fund, own, operate and maintain the facility. It will invest over $90 million in the construction of the facility

The Tennessee Valley Authority, Jackson Energy Authority, Silicon Ranch and Facebook parent company Meta have broken ground on a 70 MW solar facility in Madison County, Tennessee.

The McKellar Solar Farm is part of the Green Invest program by TVA that helps clients, like Meta, meet their sustainability goals with utility-scale solar projects. It will help power Meta’s operations in the region.

“The more than 850 MW of new solar energy we are developing with TVA is an important part of our goal to support our global operations with 100% renewable energy,” Meta’s Head of Renewable Energy Urvi Parekh said. “We thank our partners Silicon Ranch and TVA for sharing our commitment to have a positive impact on the communities where we locate.”

Earlier this year, Meta/Facebook announced an expansion of its massive Gallatin, Tenn., data center campus.

Silicon Ranch will fund, own, operate and maintain the facility. It will invest over $90 million in the construction of the facility.

Silicon Ranch named its subsidiary SR EPC as the prime contractor for the McKellar Solar Farm project. SR EPC named PCL Construction as the subcontractor for the PV plant and EPC Services Company as one for the substation.

PCL’s Solar Operations Manager Brad Hise said, “PLC is excited to leverage its experience in building over 50 utility-scale projects, to construct the McKellar solar facility.”

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The project is expected to create over 350 construction jobs with preference given to local workers and the military veteran community. It will also create additional employment for farmers and ranchers to care for the land.

The facility is expected to be complete by the end of 2022. The local Jackson Energy Authority distribution system will connect the facility to the TVA grid.

“This solar farm is the largest project to date in JEA’s service territory, reflecting our commitment to providing sustainable, reliable, and affordable power in the Tennessee Valley,” said Jim Ferrell, President and CEO of Jackson Energy Authority

Nearly 60% of the TVA’s electricity is from carbon-free generation, including hydroelectric, nuclear and renewables. The utility intends to add another 10,000 MW of solar by 2035. This additional capacity is expected to help the TVA achieve a 70% carbon reduction by 2030 and 80% by 2035. The ultimate goal is net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for EnergyTech.com. He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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