BrightRidge flips switch on first solar farm project in the Tri-Cities

The Tri-Cities’ first community solar project is expected to generate enough carbon-free electricity to power more than 500 homes in a year.

Brightridge and Silicon Ranch broke ground on the 5-megawatt solar farm in Jonesborough back in August.

Brightridge, Tennessee Valley Authority, Silicon Ranch and Washington County leaders got a look at the farm Tuesday afternoon.

BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said that 87% of the farm’s solar production shares have already been allocated to commercial businesses and BrightRidge customers.

Around 65 kW in capacity is left to purchase under the program. 

500 kW was originally set aside for commercial and residential customers.

“Over the period of the 20 years that they would be involved in it,” said Dykes, “they would actually get a return, anywhere from a four to five percent return on their investment, so this is very unique to some that are across the valley in the fact that the customers are actually reaping a benefit.”

The project could also provide a boost for the community.

“It’s also potentially, in the future,” said Silicon Ranch Executive Vice President Jim Bausell, “an economic development inspiration.”

“A lot of new businesses, when they first move in with a new facility, they’re looking to see if they can get a carbon free emissions energy source,” he also said. “This project you can’t see from the road or anything else, so lots of availablity to put this into position.”

The entire project developed in partnership with T.V.A. under its Distributed Solar Solutions program.

If you are interested in joining BrightRidge’s solar community, you can find more information on their website.

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