NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 11, 2023) – Silicon Ranch Corporation, one of the nation’s largest independent power producers and a community-focused renewable energy company, joined Vanderbilt University, Nashville Electric Service (NES), and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) today to “flip the switch” on the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, a 35-megawatt (MWAC) solar facility located in Bedford County, Tennessee.
First announced in 2020, the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm is the result of a landmark agreement as the first project contracted under TVA’s nationally recognized Green Invest program, which matches demand for green power from diverse commercial, industrial, and institutional customers with new utility-scale solar projects located in the Tennessee Valley.
Nashville-based Silicon Ranch developed and funded the project and hired more than 250 craft workers to build the solar facility. The company will also serve as the long-term owner and operator, a disciplined approach Silicon Ranch takes with every project it develops. As both the landowner and operator, Silicon Ranch will remain invested in and committed to the continued success and economic viability of the surrounding community. The company invested more than $50 million to install the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, and over the years to come, the project will generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue for Bedford County to support local infrastructure and schools, among other community-identified priorities.
In 2022, Silicon Ranch also donated 30 acres of its project site to the city of Shelbyville and Bedford County to support the recruitment of Duksan Eletera America, Inc. Later that year, Governor Bill Lee joined state and local officials to welcome Duksan Electera, who is investing $95 million to locate its first manufacturing facility in North America, which will create more than 100 new jobs.
“The Vanderbilt I Solar Farm demonstrates what is possible when we work together with a shared vision for the region, and Silicon Ranch is grateful to Vanderbilt for its leadership and to TVA for its strong support of this meaningful renewable energy investment in Bedford County,” said Matt Kisber, Co-Founder and Chairman of Silicon Ranch. “I am a proud alumnus of Vanderbilt, as are many of our colleagues, and we are thrilled to dedicate this meaningful project today. We also wish to thank the leadership of Bedford County and the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership for their collaboration and for welcoming us into this community.”
The solar facility represents a significant step by Vanderbilt University toward the ambitious goal it announced in 2019 to power its campus entirely through renewable energy and become carbon neutral by 2050. The renewable generation from the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm will offset approximately 70% of Vanderbilt University’s annual Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of enough power to help serve more than 6,000 homes for one year.
“The Vanderbilt I Solar Farm not only represents a major step toward our own goals at Vanderbilt, but also provides a model of collaborative, forward-thinking solutions that we hope other higher educational institutions will adopt and replicate across this country,” said Daniel Diermeier, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University. “We look forward to the educational and research opportunities this project and our pursuit of carbon neutrality will yield for our faculty and students at Vanderbilt. We thank Silicon Ranch, NES, and TVA for supporting us on this bold journey.”
“TVA is proud to dedicate the first project ever developed under our Green Invest program, and we are thrilled to do so with NES and Silicon Ranch,” said Justin Maierhofer, Regional Vice President at TVA. “Together with 153 local power company partners, TVA is building the energy system of the future, and Green Invest positions us to bring together customers and renewable energy partners who are investing in communities across the Tennessee Valley.”
“As one of the eleven largest utilities in the nation, NES is committed to listening to the needs of our customers, and the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm illustrates our ability to innovate in response to help our customers achieve their desired outcomes,” said Teresa Broyles-Aplin, President and CEO of NES. “NES is proud to collaborate with Vanderbilt, TVA, and Nashville’s own Silicon Ranch to reduce carbon emissions in our region.”
“Bedford County wishes to thank Vanderbilt, Silicon Ranch, NES, and TVA for making this substantial investment in our community possible,” said Chad Graham, Mayor of Bedford County. “We are pleased to welcome Silicon Ranch, who not only built this world-class facility, but also collaborated with the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership to support our successful efforts to bring Duksan Electera here as well.”