BrightRidge breaks ground for new Solar Learning Lab


JOHNSON CITY – BrightRidge, Silicon Ranch Corporation, LightWave Solar, LLC and the Tennessee Valley Authority broke ground Tuesday on a new solar learning lab at BrightRidge’s 2600 Boones Creek Road campus.

The Solar Lab will produce 498.4 MWh annually which will offset 100% of the usage for its Administration Building. BrightRidge will own the system and its output will go directly on to the electric grid.

“BrightRidge continues to lead the way under TVA’s Generation Flexibility Program by putting solar power on the grid, increasing our distribution system resilience, localizing power production and providing the diversified power mix expected by today’s businesses,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “While this is a small-scale demonstration project, it will offset a significant portion of our internal electricity usage and serve as a front door welcoming the community to learn about distributed generation and how we put green power to work.”

The Solar Lab will feature over 800 fixed solar panels, bringing a third type of solar generation to BrightRidge’s solar portfolio. The 5 MW Telford Community Solar Farm has tracking panels and the 9 MW Martin Solar Farm has bi-directional tracking panels.

This Solar Lab will offer fixed panels, allowing participating students to compare the performance of the three panel types and learn more about photovoltaic energy generation. Online resources and data will be available to any educational system in BrightRidge’s service area.

Working with the construction partners on the project, Silicon Ranch and Light Wave Solar, the layout of the Solar Lab will feature a ‘golden row’ that will face Boones Creek Road so motorists will be able to identify the Solar Lab. All other rows will face the other direction to meet our production needs.

This will be the second BrightRidge project under TVA’s Generation Flexibility Program. The Generation Flexibility Program is designed to encourage local power companies to develop new distributed generation facilities. The Solar Lab will allow BrightRidge to continue its commitment to generate clean energy to lower costs and support community and economic development in the region.

“We congratulate BrightRidge’s continued leadership in developing innovative solutions to meet customer needs through TVA’s Generation Flexibility Program” TVA Customer Relations Manager Chris Quillen said. “In May of this year, TVA will celebrate our 90th anniversary. From our earliest years, we have been producing clean, low-cost, renewable power through our dams.

“Generation Flexibility is an integral part of TVA’s current strategy to increase solar and decrease carbon emissions in our region, and we are proud to be trusted energy advisors along with our local power companies such as BrightRidge. TVA is taking steps to build the energy system of the future, including adding 10,000 megawatts of solar by 2035.”

About BrightRidge

BrightRidge is a publicly owned electric utility serving 83,671 customers in Washington, Sullivan, Carter and Greene counties. It is the 10th largest local power company in the Tennessee Valley Authority service area. BrightRidge Broadband, a division of BrightRidge, offers nation-leading 10GB symmetrical fiber-to-the-premise services to more than 30,000 locations in its service area.