JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — BrightRidge broke ground Tuesday on a solar learning lab that will both generate power and showcase solar power to the public.

The new project will be located at BrightRidge’s campus on Boones Creek Road and feature more than 800 fixed solar panels covering nearly an acre.

BrightRidge said the fixed panels will allow students to compare their performance to the tracking panels at its Telford solar farm and the bi-directional panels at its Martin solar farm. Resources and data will also be made available online to local schools.

The solar farm will be connected to the grid and generate nearly 500 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, which will offset the power used by BrightRidge’s administrative building.

The project is expected to be online and produce electricity by October.

The solar farm is a project under Tennessee Valley Authority’s Generation Flexibility Program, which encourages local utilities to develop new distributed generation facilities.

BrightRidge has partnered with Nashville-based Silicon Ranch and LightWave Solar on the new facility.