BOONES CREEK, Tenn. (WJHL) — A new Solar Learning Lab opened on BrightRidge’s main campus Tuesday, providing electricity to the company and giving local students a hands-on learning experience.

According to BrightRidge, the lab’s creation was a team effort among itself, Silicon Ranch, LightWave Solar and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The Solar Lab features more than 800 fixed solar panels and will produce more than 500 kilowatts of clean energy.

Boones Creek Solar Lab on BrightRidge campus. Photo: WJHL

BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said the solar farm serves the dual purpose of providing energy and education.

“This is the Flip the Switch for 500-kilowatt hours of solar farm–or actually a solar lab,” he said. “This lab will be used for the local schools to come in and do training, to learn. From the high schools to the elementary schools. We’re also working with Milligan [University] and with their engineering school.”

Dykes said the lab will allow students to experience the opportunities a career field in engineering and energy could bring.

“They can learn and get involved, and really expand their futures. And maybe this is something they’ll want to seek a career in; so this is that opportunity.”

Participating students will learn how solar farms and panels work, then track and compare the performance of different panel types. BrightRidge said online resources and data will be available to any school/educational system in the company’s service area.