BrightRidge along with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Silicon Ranch broke ground Friday morning on the Tri-Cities’ first community solar project. 

According to a release, the 5-megawatt solar farm will be located near Telford. 

BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes announced that 500 kilowatts of the project capacity will be offered exclusively to BrightRidge customers on a monthly or long-term basis as an alternative to installing solar panels directly on public or private property. 

“Many of our commercial and residential customers are unable to access the benefits of solar because they can’t afford the cost of installation, live in multifamily buildings, or their rooftops cannot support the weight of solar panels,” Dykes said. “BrightRidge is pleased to lead the way with a community solar offering that provides access to all of our customers, regardless of circumstance, so they can purchase clean power direct without the expense and upkeep of installing panels on their private property.”

Silicon Ranch, Tennessee’s largest independent solar power producer, expects to invest millions in private money to build the solar farm. The farm is expected to generate around 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, with zero carbon emissions and zero water consumption. 

The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will produce enough electricity to power more than 500 homes over the course of a year depending on weather conditions. 

“This project is more than clean, low-cost energy – it demonstrates the value of public power by directly connecting our community with a cleaner future,” said Jay Stowe, senior vice president of Distributed Energy Resources for TVA. “Over the next 20 years TVA plans to invest about $8 billion to support our renewable energy portfolio to help our customers meet their carbon reduction goals.”