The Memphis and Shelby County community is already home to the blues, barbeque and now it will be home to one of Tennessee’s largest solar farms.

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Wednesday a new Green Invest partnership with Facebook and RWE Renewables that will build a 150-MW solar facility near Millington. Facebook will use 110 MW of solar energy to support its data center operations in Gallatin, Tennessee and the broader Tennessee Valley.

“Bringing clean energy to Shelby County is part of our long-term community plan, and is critical to support our region’s sustainability strategy,” said Doug Perry, TVA senior VP of Commercial Energy Solutions. “This project is more than a solar farm, it puts people to work, revitalizes communities and makes our region an environmental leader.”

Since 2018, Green Invest has attracted nearly $2.7 billion in solar investment and procured over 2,100 MW of solar on behalf of its customers — maintaining TVA’s green energy leadership with the greatest amount of renewable generation in the Southeast.

TVA is partnering with RWE to develop the $140 million solar farm. RWE, through a long-term PPA with TVA, will own and operate the plant using industry-leading land stewardship techniques.

“RWE is a global renewable energy leader, and we are excited to develop one of the world’s most advanced solar farms in Shelby County,” said Silvia Ortin, COO of Onshore Wind and Solar PV Americas, RWE Renewables. “Through TVA Green Invest, the clean energy generated from this site will fuel jobs locally and across the state and help Facebook achieve its carbon reduction goals.”

The project will create more than 150 construction jobs and is expected to generate more than $12 million in property tax revenue, with additional employment for two to four full-time operations and maintenance staff. The facility is expected to come online in late 2023, pending environmental reviews.

“Green Invest demonstrates the value that TVA’s public power model has for our community,” said Tennessee state Sen. Paul Rose. “This solar farm will be a beacon that attracts jobs and investment into Shelby County,”

Millington Mayor Terry Jones added: “I’m excited because TVA and Facebook are going to be great neighbors, and their trusted brands will benefit everyone in Shelby County. Businesses want renewable energy, and this solar farm makes it easier for us to compete for good jobs.”

In April, Facebook announced that its operations are now supported by 100% renewable energy. To support that goal, in the last year, Facebook has signed Green Invest agreements for 475 MW of new solar to be built in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky. Since 2018, Facebook has agreed to purchase a total of 852 MW of power generated by multiple solar farms linked into the TVA electric grid.

“Facebook’s mission is to connect the world, and the connections we made with TVA and RWE will ensure our operations in the Tennessee Valley are supported with new solar energy,” said Urvi Parekh, head of Renewable Energy at Facebook. “This solar project, which is our third in Tennessee, will help us continue our commitment of 100% renewable energy for our global operations, while also bringing new investment and jobs to the local community.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

“Facebook, RWE and our elected officials are great partners, and this announcement demonstrates our commitment to Shelby County, and how we are using solar energy to make our region the prime destination for businesses to achieve their environmental goals,” Perry said.

News item from RWE Renewables

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