BrightRidge, TVA, Silicon Ranch & LightWave Solar ‘Flip the Switch’ on new Solar Learning Lab


JOHNSON CITY – Officials with BrightRidge, Silicon Ranch, LightWave Solar and the Tennessee Valley Authority joined together Tuesday afternoon to Flip the Switch on a new Solar Learning Lab at BrightRidge’s 2600 Boones Creek Road campus. The Solar Learning Lab will produce 500 kW of energy, sufficient to power the Administrative Offices at BrightRidge & BrightRidge Broadband, while providing area students with a unique hands-on learning lab. Featuring more than 800 fixed solar panels, the Solar Lab adds a third solar generation facility to BrightRidge’s portfolio. BrightRidge also purchases power from the 5 MW Telford Community Solar Farm as well as the 9 MW Martin Solar Farm, both operated by Silicon Ranch.

“All of our solar facilities deploy different generation technologies,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “Outside of these solar facilities, no new energy generation has been built in our service area for decades. While our BrightRidge team continues to learn daily about the strengths and weaknesses of each generation type, it also provides a tremendous enrichment learning opportunity for our youth who have an interest in engineering and solar deployment in a distributed generation environment.

“At the same time, although this is a small-scale demonstration project, it is more than sufficient to power all our administrative functions, while also advertising that our region is on its way to energy self-sufficiency.” Participating students will be able to track and compare the performance of different 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.

The Solar Lab is the second BrightRidge project under TVA’s Generation Flexibility Program. Generation Flexibility 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 at lower cost while strengthening community development. TVA developed its Generation Flexibility program several years ago to spur construction of 10,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2035 as the utility scales alternative generation amid rapid diversification of its production mix.

“The Solar Learning Lab is a great example of the strong leadership at BrightRidge and their expertise in developing innovative solutions to meet customer needs through TVA’s Generation Flexibility Program,” said Chris Hansen, TVA Vice President, Origination & Renewables. “Generation Flexibility is an integral part of TVA’s 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.”


The Tennessee Valley Authority is the nation’s largest public power supplier, delivering energy to 10 million people across seven southeastern states. TVA was established 90 years ago to serve this region and the nation by developing innovative solutions to solve complex challenges. TVA’s unique mission focuses on energy, environmental stewardship, and economic development. With one of the largest, most diverse, and cleanest energy systems – including nuclear, hydro, solar, gas, and advanced technologies – TVA is a leader in our nation’s drive toward a clean energy future.

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.