TVA, partners launch solar-plus-storage project for Facebook, GM

March 30, 2021

by Peter Maloney
APPA News
March 30, 2021

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has unveiled a 173 megawatt (MW) renewable energy project that would be the largest solar-plus-storage project in TVA’s Kentucky service area.

The Logan County solar farm will provide Facebook’s regional data center operations with 145 MW of power and General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly, exclusive home of the Chevrolet Corvette, with 28 MW of power.

Facebook’s investment in the solar project helped enable the addition of 120 megawatt-hours (MWh) of battery storage technology that will increase the resilience of the power grid.

TVA and Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. are partnering with Nashville-based Silicon Ranch to develop the project. TVA signed a long-term power purchase agreement with Silicon Ranch to develop, own, operate and maintain the solar-plus-storage facility.

Silicon Ranch expects to hire more than 450 workers for the project, which is expected to begin construction in 2022 and be completed in the fall of 2023, pending environmental reviews.

The project 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,” Chris Hansen, TVA vice president of origination and renewables, said in a statement. “TVA’s Green Invest program is bringing together customers and renewable energy partners who are all investing in our communities,” he added.

TVA’s Green Invest program matches demand for green power from large business and industrial customers with renewable projects that TVA puts together with its development partners. Since 2018, TVA says, the program has attracted nearly $2.7 billion in solar investment and procured over 2,100 MW of solar power on behalf of the utility’s customers.

The Logan County project is the fifth renewable energy agreement TVA has signed with Facebook, which now has renewable commitments in the region totaling 742 MW of solar and 80 MW of battery storage.

Earlier this month, TVA said it is partnering with Origis Energy to develop a 150-MW solar and 50-MW, 250-MWh battery storage facility in Lowndes County, Mississippi, to support two Facebook data centers in the Tennessee Valley.

In May, General Motors said it would use TVA’s Green Invest program to power its Spring Hill Manufacturing plant with 100 percent renewable energy to reach its goal to become carbon dioxide neutral in its products and operations by 2040.

The Green Invest program is also available to local power companies in TVA’s territory. In January 2020, TVA announced a partnership with Nashville Electric Service and Vanderbilt University for a 35-MW solar project in Bedford County, Tennessee. Last March, TVA entered into a deal to secure 212 MW of solar power for Knoxville Utilities Board’s customers.

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