Solar farm dedication scheduled
Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 7:00 pm
The State of Tennessee and University of Tennessee will celebrate the official opening of the 5-megawatt West Tennessee Solar Farm near Stanton on April 12.
A brief program will begin at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The West Tennessee Solar Farm is the largest facility of its kind in the state.
An information and welcome center will be built in 2013 to house Spectrum, an educational solar exhibit.
Nearly 10 million vehicles a year will pass by the Solar Farm as they travel the Interstate 40 corridor in West Tennessee, allowing the public to gain first-hand knowledge of solar energy.
The solar energy industry is a rapidly growing sector of the state’s economy.
Tennessee has 180 for profit companies in its solar value chain, with more than 6,400 people employed in solar-related industries, and the state has installed about 27 MW of solar power.
Recent reports show solar represents a $137 billion global market.
Among those scheduled to participate in the grand opening ceremony will be Dr. David Milhorn, executive vice president of the University of Tennessee; Paul Fassbender, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; John Schroer, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation; Franklin Smith, mayor of Haywood County; Ben Fischer, president of Signal Energy; John Collins, president of the Chickasaw Electric Co-op; and a representative of the U.S. Department of Energy
It was in 2009 that the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development allocated $62.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, including the West Tennessee Solar Farm, and the Tennessee Solar Institute.
The funds were allocated to benefit the Tennessee economy by using federal dollars to create jobs and provide support to a growing solar industry, according to a news release.