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First Utility-Scale Solar Project Announced Under TVA Generation Flexibility Program

An independent power producer and a major electric cooperative—both based in Tennessee—have announced an agreement to partner on a utility-scale solar power installation to serve customers in that region. Nashville-based Silicon Ranch, which specializes in solar energy, agrivoltaics, and carbon solutions, is joining with Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) to support the 110-MW Copeland Solar Farm in Cumberland County. The companies' effort is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA’s)Generation Flexibility Program. MTE is the second-largest electric co-op in the U.S. Silicon Ranch, founded in 2011, is known for its portfolio of solar power and battery energy storage projects. The company oversees the nation's largest wholly owned agrivoltaics portfolio, where solar power installations co-exist with agricultural activities. [caption id="attachment_219185" align="alignnone" width="640"]

Chris Jones (left), president and CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric, and Reagan Farr, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Ranch, sign their partnership agreement for the Copeland Solar Farm project. Source: Silicon Ranch[/caption] The companies on May 13 said the Copeland Solar Farm will be the largest solar facility to directly serve a local power company (LPC) in the Tennessee Valley. Silicon Ranch will fund, build, own, operate, and maintain the solar farm on behalf of MTE. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2027. MTE serves more than 750,000 customers across 11 Tennessee counties. “Because we are owned by the members we serve, MTE is constantly seeking new ways to deliver value and to meet their evolving needs and expectations,” said Chris Jones, president and CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric. “As part of this effort, our team worked closely with TVA to update the Generation Flexibility Program, and we thank TVA for its collaborative spirit to make this project and this partnership with Silicon Ranch a reality. MTE is pleased and grateful to partner with Silicon Ranch, a trusted local provider that is the recognized leader in providing solar power to electric cooperatives not just for the Tennessee Valley, but across this country.” “At Silicon Ranch, our number one priority is to support stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities through the work that we do, and this mission aligns perfectly with the ethos of America’s electric cooperatives,” said Matt Kisber, co-founder and chairman of Silicon Ranch. “Silicon Ranch is thrilled to expand this important work with MTE, the region’s largest co-op and an innovative utility that embraces its leadership role to drive the Tennessee Valley forward. We are pleased to have this opportunity to deliver more positive impacts at scale right here at home, and we thank Cumberland County for welcoming us as its newest corporate citizen.” “TVA’s Generation Flexibility Program is extremely popular because it helps our LPC partners use renewable energy to lower costs and provide economic benefit to their community,” said Justin Maierhofer, regional vice president at TVA. “TVA thanks MTE and Silicon Ranch for their collaboration as we grow renewable energy and drive meaningful investment in Cumberland County.” —Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).