Electric Dept. looking to contract with local solar farm

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A solar farm planned for the West Carroll area may soon be providing some extra power to the Carroll County Electric Department (CCED).

As CCED general manager Danny Brawner advised CCED Board members during their Jan. 27 meeting, Silicon Ranch, a company based out of Nashville, is in the process of purchasing 118 acres of land from Shoaf Farms off Highway 105 on Power Station Road between Trezevant and McLemoresville.

Brawner said he has spoken with Silicon Ranch representatives about the possibility of the CCED contracting with the company to buy the electricity produced by the solar farm.

As Brawner explained, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is now allowing utility companies (including the CCED) that buy their power from TVA to also buy up to five percent of their total power input from alternative sources, particularly those involving solar or wind power.

TVA has already approved of Silicon Ranch as an alternative supplier, said Brawner, and, if everything goes as planned, he would seek to contract with Silicon Ranch for all of the power produced by the solar farm at 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour, which is actually less than what the rate the CCED currently pays to TVA.

According to Brawner, Silicon Ranch would be covering all the costs of hooking onto the CCED’s nearest substation, which is conveniently close to the planned solar farm, and the company has even agreed to fund a new circuit breaker for that substation.

Brawner also said that reps from Granges of Huntingdon have contacted him about their company’s desire to purchase renewal energy credits from the five percent supplied by Silicon Ranch in order to cut down on Granges’ carbon footprint.

The board generally agreed that they should move forward with contracting with Silicon Ranch. However, Brawner said he wanted board attorney Robert Keeton II to look over the contract first, and then, if everything looks good, they can approve it at the February meeting.

“It looks like a win-win to me,” said board chairman Terry Howell.

Brawner estimated that it would be about a year before Silicon Ranch started construction of the solar farm.

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