The 5-megawatt West Tennessee Solar Farm is one of the largest solar-generating facilities in the Southeast. It serves to educate the general public about solar energy, including the past, present and future of solar within the state. The Solar Farm is encouraging renewable energy interest and investments across Tennessee and throughout the region, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy generation, and creating jobs.
More than 25 acres contain a solar array of approximately 21,000 fixed tilt, ground-mounted photovoltaic solar panels. The generated electricity is distributed through purchase agreements with local utility Chickasaw Electric Cooperative and Tennessee Valley Authority.
The Solar Farm will only be open for public tours during select dates and times, but construction of a Visitor’s Information and Welcome Center is expected at a later date. Visit SPECTRUM for solar information, and a glimpse of SPECTRUM, the educational exhibit that will be located at the Information and Welcome Center.
In 2009, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development allocated $62.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, including the West Tennessee Solar Farm and the Tennessee Solar Institute. The Volunteer State Solar Initiative is a comprehensive solar energy and economic development program focused on job creation, education, renewable power production and technology commercialization.
To oversee the creation and operation of the Solar Farm, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development contracted with the University of Tennessee. Working through the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, the University of Tennessee is responsible for installation and operation of the power-generation facility.
Signal Energy, LLC of Chattanooga, Tennessee designed and built the Solar Farm array in 2011, with connection to the electrical grid in early 2012.