Construction begins at 53 MW-AC solar project at Navy Base in Tennessee


Yesterday national contractor McCarthy Building Companies announced that it has begun construction on a 53 MW-AC solar project in Millington, Tennessee, 20 miles Northeast of Memphis.

The plant will feature 580,000 PV modules mounted on single-axis trackers, covering 402 acres of land. 72 acres of the project site will be leased from the U.S. Navy at the Naval Support Activity Mid-South. The remainder of the site was purchased from the Millington Industrial Development Board.

McCarthy plans to hire local labor for the majority of the 300 workers that it will need to build the plant, and is currently actively hiring to fill positions. The contractor expects to complete construction work on the plant by the end of 2018.

McCarthy states that it is currently building more than 12 solar projects in Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia and Georgia, and is either building or has completed 30 utility-scale clean energy projects in the United States, with a combined capacity of over 1.3 GW.

Silicon Ranch is developing and funding the project, which it plans to own and operate over the long-term.

The plant is located in the service area of Memphis Light, Gas and Water, one of the local power companies operating under the Tennessee Public Power Association, which buys power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). TVA is described as a partner on the project, but the exact relationship was not clear in a brief press statement.

TVA has come under fire from renewable energy advocates for its slow adoption of renewable energy, including changing its pricing structure specifically to discourage the adoption of behind-the-meter solar.

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