Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, a 35-MWAC solar array in Bedford County, Tennessee, reached commercial operations today. Developed by Silicon Ranch, Vanderbilt I is supplying power to its namesake, Vanderbilt University.
First announced in 2020, Vanderbilt I is the first project contracted under the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Invest program, which matches demand for green power from 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 of Vanderbilt I, an approach Silicon Ranch takes with every project it develops.
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, schools and 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, an electrolyte manufacturer for the electric vehicle industry, that plans to build a factory there.
Aerial images of Vanderbilt Campus and Kirkland Hall(Daniel Dubois / Vanderbilt University)
“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 its goal 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.”
News item from Silicon Ranch