Solar farm in Jackson begins operations
Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 9:04 pm
JACKSON (AP) — The largest solar electrical generation plant within the seven-state Tennessee Valley Authority is now operational.
The solar panels were officially activated last week on an industrial lot in East Jackson in a ceremony attended by the governor and officials from TVA and Meridian Development Partners.
The 5.5-acre solar farm is divided into two sections. One will supply electricity directly to the TVA. The other will help power a nearby plant and warehouse that is now owned by Jackson Industrial Holdings, a subsidiary of Meridian Development Partners.
Meridian managing di-rector Michael Katz has said it is the company’s first venture into solar electric generation for individual buildings and power grids.
Katz said he thinks Jackson will be a hub for manufacturing growth in the future because renewable and clean energy is important to many investors.
“We expect this investment to be one of our huge successes,” he said. “Sustainability is important to us. Aligning business and public policy goals are possible.”
Gov. Bill Haslam told The Jackson Sun that the state has taken a leadership role in solar energy and needs to encourage other companies to pursue similar projects.
“We’re known throughout the country and throughout the world as somebody that is pushing the edge on making the next step there,” he said.
Haslam said Tennessee has solar manufacturers that are creating jobs and energy, but the state needs to find a way to make solar costs competitive if it wants to attract more solar farms.
The total cost to construct the solar farm was around $5 million.
The first section of the solar farm, which is connected to TVA, contains 4,704 Sharp solar panels that can produce a total of 1,000 kilowatt hours of direct current power each hour.
The second section of the solar farm, which is connected to the plant and warehouse, contains 210 panels capable of producing 47 kilowatts of DC power each hour.
Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.31.11