TVA to build state’s largest solar site in south central Kentucky

Published 12:33 pm Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced plans on Thursday to build the largest solar-plus-storage project in its Kentucky service area, which will benefit two well-known companies.

The new Logan County solar farm, part of the TVA’s Green Invest program, will provide Facebook’s regional data center operations with 145 megawatts of solar power and General Motors’ Corvette Plant in Bowling Green with 28 megawatts of solar power.

Facebook’s investment helped enable the addition of 120 megawatt-hours of new battery storage technology which will increase the resilience of the power grid. TVA and Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation are partnering with Nashville-based Silicon Ranch to develop the project.

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“Today’s announcement is the result of Facebook’s, General Motors’ and Warren RECC’s leadership and our joint, long-term commitment to renewable energy across the region,” said Chris Hansen, TVA vice president, Origination and Renewables. “TVA’s Green Invest program is bringing together customers and renewable energy partners who are all investing in our communities.”

Since 2018, Green Invest has attracted nearly $2.7 billion in solar investment and procured over 2,100 megawatts of solar power on behalf of its customers, providing TVA with the greatest amount of renewable generation in the Southeast.

“Renewable energy is something that more of our businesses want and something that makes Kentucky more competitive for jobs and investments,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Green Invest shows the benefits of TVA’s public power model as we transition to a cleaner energy future.”

State Representative Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, says the project will create valuable opportunities for local residents and businesses. “I am excited that Logan County has been chosen to serve as a provider of renewable energy. This project positions our entire region for economic development as the demand for renewable energy continues to increase.”

TVA signed a long-term power purchase agreement with Silicon Ranch to develop, own, operate and maintain the solar-plus-storage facility, which the utility believes will foster significant capital investment in Logan County and spawn additional economic impacts for the surrounding area.

Silicon Ranch plans to hire more than 450 workers and will emphasize hiring locally for the project’s construction, which is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed in the fall of 2023, pending environmental reviews.

Facebook says they want to support their global operations with 100% renewable energy, and this announcement is their fifth renewable energy agreement with TVA. Facebook’s renewable commitments in the region now total 742 megawatts of solar and 80 megawatts of battery storage.

In May, General Motors said it would use Green Invest to power its Spring Hill manufacturing plant with 100% renewable energy, and solar energy from today’s announcement will help General Motors reach its goal to become carbon neutral in its products and operations by 2040. The solar facility is about 30 miles from GM’s Bowling Green assembly plant.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies, serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states and receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity.

In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.