NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — This week, Mayor John Cooper announced plans for the construction of a 100-megawatt solar energy farm in Tullahoma that will help heat and cool, as well as power Metro Government buildings and operations with renewable energy.
The project will be a partnership with Nashville Electric Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Vanderbilt University.
The developer, Nashville-based Silicon Ranch Corporation has built solar farms across the nation, including one for Facebook’s operations in Georgia.
In Tennessee, they built one for Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga and for Nike’s North America logistics campus in Memphis.
Mike Jameson, Legislative Director for Mayor John Cooper explained what this will do for Metro Government operations:
“If we adopt this proposal next Tuesday, Nashville will be one-third of the way to 100 percent renewable energy supply for Metro. And that is a phenomenal leap,” said Jameson, “Last year, the Council enacted legislation that set forth a recipe for energy sources that Metro should use, and set out specific time tables. So by the year 2025, we should have a 35 percent renewable energy source. And by 2041, that should be 100 percent.”
All with an aim of helping the environment.
“This is going to be the equivalent of removing 14,000 cars driving on the interstate every year for 20 years!” Jameson exclaimed.
And though there will originally be a $300,000 cost, the project pays off immensely. And this does not affect your electric bill, only Metro Government.
“Our average electric bill for Metro is $47 million,” explained Jameson. “We will get one-third of that as a clean energy source for the cost of less than one percent. In fact, less than 0.70 percent. And that is a deal that anybody would take.”
In addition, Vanderbilt will be a 25-megawatt co-subscriber to the solar array, thereby reaching their own 100 percent renewable-energy goal for campus operations.
The solar panels will also be elevated, allowing farm operations to continue on the land, including providing pastureland for livestock.
“It is our job to see, as stewards of the planet, that we reduce our carbon footprint, and this is a tremendous step in that direction,” said Jameson.