NEXTERA ENERGY Resources, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and Meta announced in May the commissioning of the Elora Solar Energy Center: Tennessee’s newest large-scale solar energy project.
Based in Elora, the solar energy center will generate up to 150 megawatts of solar energy, according to information from a NextEra news release.
“This solar energy project will generate low-cost, homegrown energy, and provide millions of dollars in additional tax revenue to Lincoln County, over the life of the project,” Stuart McCurdy, vice president of development at NextEra said, according to the news release. “We are pleased to work with TVA and Meta to bring online, Tennessee’s newest solar energy center.”
A subsidiary of NextEra built, owns, and will operate the Elora Solar Energy Center which has more than 500,000 photovoltaic solar panels converting the sun’s energy into electricity.
According to the company’s website, NextEra is the world’s largest wind and solar energy generator and one of the country’s leading providers of energy-related services and wholesale power generation. The company also manages more than 17,000 megawatts of North America’s wind and solar generation.
The center’s construction took almost a year and a half to build. The construction produced a significant economic boost in Lincoln County and Tennessee as the project generated approximately 250 construction jobs and stimulated the purchase of regional goods and services from local vendors.
Lincoln County is expected to gain millions in additional revenue from the solar facility over the next 20 years. In order to support the solar facility, Fayetteville Public Utilities will supply electric services to auxiliary systems.
The solar energy center works by converting the sun’s photovoltaic energy into direct current electricity, which is converted into alternate current after traveling from the solar panels through inverters. The energy then travels from the inverter and through a power grid that powers homes and businesses.
TVA spokesperson Scott Fiedler said the Elora solar facility is part of TVA’s green invest program where TVA purchases power from solar developers throughout their region. The program began in 2018 and has generated about $3 billion in investment.
The news release stated that TVA — a federally owned electric utility corporation in the U.S. — procured more than 2,800 megawatts of solar energy to promote economic development across seven Southeast states.
“We see solar as two things: green and green,” Fiedler said to the Exchange Media Group. “Green for the environment. Green for money.”
The clean energy from the solar facility will also go toward supporting Meta’s regional data centers. Meta is an American multinational technology conglomerate, previously known as Facebook, Inc.
“We appreciate the collaboration with NextEra Energy Resources and TVA that is allowing us to bring this new solar energy to the grid in support of our operations,” Bryce Dalley, head of energy supply at Meta, said in the news release. “At Meta, we are committed to minimizing our environmental impact and investing in communities where we are located. Projects like this one help us to continue to meet our 100% renewable energy goal while bringing jobs and investments to Tennessee.” GN