KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Monday it has selected First Solar and Origis Energy to develop 212 MWAC of solar power to fulfill the Knoxville Utilities Board’s March 2020 commitment to new renewable energy. KUB is using the TVA Green Invest program to produce carbon-free energy equivalent to 8% of KUB’s annual electric load.
“We launched Green Invest to help local power companies and businesses meet their sustainability goals by building new large-scale solar facilities across our region,” said Doug Perry, TVA vice president of Commercial Energy Solutions. “KUB is a leader as our region quickly pivots to expand the supply of renewable energy to meet customer requests for ever-cleaner power.”
As part of the initiative, TVA has entered into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with the 177 MW Ridgely Energy Farm in Lake County, Tennessee, developed by First Solar Inc. With this agreement, TVA has now contracted for a total of 404 MW of First Solar developed projects, including an existing 20-year PPA for the 227 MW project in Muscle Shoals.
“TVA’s Green Invest program sets the benchmark for public-private partnerships, demonstrating how innovative procurement and deal structures can enable utilities’ decarbonization commitments,” said Eran Mahrer, First Solar’s vice president, Markets, Origination, and Government Affairs. “As America’s solar company, we’re proud to be partnering with TVA to deliver cleaner solar electricity to the people of Knoxville, Tennessee, using solar module technology that was designed and developed in America.”
The KUB project is a milestone because it marks a 60% increase in TVA’s operating and contracted solar capacity since the start of fiscal year 2020.
In March, TVA announced a contract with Origis Energy to develop a 200 MW solar site in Lowndes County, Mississippi, for TVA. Thirty-five MW of this facility will support KUB’s Green Invest purchase.
“We thank Lowndes County, TVA and KUB leadership,” said Johan Vanhee, Origis Energy chief commercial officer & chief procurement officer. “This Green Invest partnership demonstrates a new model for how renewable energy projects can benefit multiple communities as we deliver on this clean energy promise.”
“We were very pleased to be able to work with TVA on this landmark agreement, which will help us to support climate goals in our community,” said Gabriel Bolas, KUB president and CEO. “We look forward to these resources coming online to serve our customers.”
TVA modeled Green Invest after work with Facebook and Google, beginning in 2018, to identify new renewable energy solutions for data centers locating in the region. Green Invest is available to local power companies, and business and industrial customers across TVA’s seven state service territory. The program leverages long-term agreements to build new, large-scale renewable energy installations in the Valley through a competitive bid process.
TVA is a national leader in carbon-free energy with nearly 60% of TVA’s energy supply already coming from carbon-free sources.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.