An official with North Carolina-based Strata Solar updated the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors Aug. 22 on progress on two new 20-MW solar projects it is developing for TVA in McNairy County, Tenn.
The projects are very close to being “shovel ready,” Strata Solar Vice President Blair Schooff said during the public session of the TVA board meeting. Strata has finished its mandatory public notification of nearby landowners and is has nearly completed its facility study for the project, he said.
Each of the 20-MW solar parks will be far larger than the biggest solar project currently in Tennessee. Schooff said that each project will be located on 150 acres and include more than 80,000 solar panels.
McNairy County is located next to the Mississippi state line. Most of the workforce is being hired locally, the solar company official said.
Also within the next several weeks Strata expects to put forward another proposal to build another pair of 20-MW solar projects in western Tennessee, Schooff said.
During his report during the main meeting, TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson said the Strata project will be very competitive, by renewable standards, although still more expensive than what TVA gets from its conventional power plants.
TVA announced the Strata Solar projects as part of its renewable standard offer effort earlier in August.
The Strata Solar project is being done in coordination with the Pickwick Electric Cooperative.
Various speakers called upon TVA to expand its Green Power Providers program. TVA said earlier this summer that the program has received applications in excess of the 2.5 MW capacity limit.
Friends of the Earth official Tom Clements called upon TVA to withdraw from participation in the Department of Energy (DOE) program to text mixed-oxide fuel or MOX at commercial nuclear reactor program.
At least one speaker praised the public forum portion of the TVA board meeting and feared that feature would go away if the federal utility is ever privatized by the U.S. government.