WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of the Navy (DON), Silicon Ranch Corporation and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) broke ground and solar records in Millington, Tennessee, April 22 in conjunction with Earth Day.
The DON and Silicon Ranch signed a real estate outgrant earlier this week to secure 72 acres of base land for 37 years for facility development and operations. Once complete, approximately 103,000 solar panels will cover the land and generate up to 12 megawatts (MW) of direct current (DC) electricity (9 MW alternating current (AC)), which equates to powering nearly 1,300 homes.
Combined with adjoining acres, Silicon Ranch will develop Tennessee's largest solar facility at 68.5 MW DC (53 MW AC), spanning 402 acres, containing 580,000 solar panels and powering up to 7,500 homes.
Notable groundbreaking ceremony presenters and attendees included Millington Mayor Terry Jones, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment Steven R. Iselin; Commanding Officer of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South Capt. David J. Bryson; President and CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation Matthew H. Kisber; and Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer of TVA Van Wardlaw.
Jones emphasized the significance of this project for the Millington community, economy and environment. Noting that quality of life, jobs and industry could increase as a result of cleaner, more resilient energy in the area.
Iselin remarked on the importance of energy security and resiliency for the DON. "We are creating resiliency ashore by breaking ground on industry-scale solar at NSA Mid-South. This couldn't have been done without the innovation and diligent collaboration between NSA Mid-South, Silicon Ranch Corporation and TVA. Diversified power and electrical infrastructure upgrades not only increase NSA Mid-South's operational stability and efficiency but also benefit national security and the environment."
Although today marks the project start, visible signs of construction will not be seen until 2017. In the meantime, project partners will conduct a series of surveys and studies and complete the permitting process. Upon successful completion of those studies, transmission infrastructure will then be constructed with the facility anticipated to be online in 2018.
Kisber praised the spirit of partnership that made the project possible and highlighted the benefits it will bring to the local community. "It's important on this Earth Day that we break ground on Tennessee's largest solar farm that will provide economic, environmental and community benefits to the city of Millington and surrounding communities, to TVA's ratepayers and to 7,500 Tennesseans associated with the NSA Mid-South facility."
"We recognize that achieving our mission is made much easier when we're working with great partners. And clearly, the significant project we're announcing today is a shining example of what can be accomplished when businesses, communities, government entities and others come together with a common goal and a willingness to collaborate," said Wardlaw. "Our collaboration on this important project with the Department of the Navy, Silicon Ranch, the Millington Industrial Development Board, the City of Millington, and our local power company partner, Memphis Light Gas & Water, was exceptional and is a testament to the benefits of the public power model."
The Secretary of the Navy established a goal to bring one gigawatt of renewable energy into procurement by the end of 2015 and the DON surpassed it by collaborating with industry to develop mutually beneficial energy resources. The DON is exploring the next level of energy technology advances such as battery storage, electrification, fuel cells and microgrids to further enhance its energy security, operational capability, strategic flexibility and resource availability.