Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch joined local officials, residents and farmers from White Oak Pastures in a ceremonial “flip the switch” ceremony on the 106 MW (AC) Clay Solar Project in Bluffton, Georgia. The energy generated by the Clay Solar Project, which came online late last year, is shared by 30 electric membership corporations (EMC) from across the state and will generate enough reliable, low-cost energy to help serve more than 17,000 EMC households annually.
Silicon Ranch deployed an agrivoltaic model it calls Regenerative Energy at the Clay Solar Project, which was developed after White Oak Pastures owner, Will Harris, introduced Silicon Ranch leadership to the methods of planned livestock grazing and regenerative agricultural practices that his family had been practing for more than two decades. Silicon Ranch now uses the Regenerative Energy model in the design, construction and land management that the company has deployed across thousands of acres it owns and manages across the country. In addition, Silicon Ranch developed and funded a gopher tortoise sanctuary in partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, relocating gopher tortoises to additional land that Silicon Ranch owns in Clay County.
“There are no losers in this deal,” said Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures. “The Silicon Ranch land will remain pastoral. Our rural community gets much-needed jobs, and a new renewable energy project to be proud of. With the help of our pre-seeding of the site, Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch will sequester even more soil carbon and create a record of the ecological impact for others to repeat. In the future, consumers can participate by purchasing the pasture-raised meats that will be grazed by Silicon Ranch.”
White Oak Pastures began regenerative farming in 1995, when the family-run farm moved away from industrial agricultural techniques and treated the farm as a living ecosystem. They raise ten species of humanely treated animals on land that is holistically managed. The farm employs over 155 people who help run the vertically integrated, zero-waste agricultural business.
For the Clay Solar Project, Silicon Ranch selected IEA as the EPC contractor, which hired more than 400 workers during construction, with preference given to the local labor pool and the military veteran community. The Clay County project marks the largest collaborative solar project brought online by Georgia’s electric cooperatives, according to Jeff Pratt, president of Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 EMCs in Georgia. Silicon Ranch is an independent power producer and renewable energy company. Attendees at the event, including State Rep. Gerald Greene, the Clay County Board of Commissioners, the Clay County Development Authority, and others, toured the solar project and learned about the regenerative agriculture practices deployed at the site.
Collectively, the partners’ portfolio now includes nine operational utility-scale solar installations, totaling more than 550 MW (AC) of energy, or enough to help power more than 90,000 EMC households annually. In 2022, Green Power EMC, Silicon Ranch announced 252 MW Georgia solar portfolio that is expected to operational by 2024 and will be owned, operated, and maintained by Silicon Ranch.
Green Power EMC is a not-for-profit cooperative founded in 2001 to support 38 of Georgia’s electric cooperatives in their search for renewable resources. The company negotiates power purchase agreements with Georgia-based renewable resource providers like Silicon Ranch.
Nashville-based Silicon Ranch is an integrated provider of customized renewable energy, carbon and battery storage solutions. The company capped 2022 with a $375 million equity raise completed at the end of the calendar year, It has a portfolio of more than 5 GW of solar and battery storage systems, all of which it owns and operates. Silicon Ranch specializes in utility-scale agrivoltaics, and pairs it with its recently acquired Clearloop, which allows customers to reclaim their carbon footprint in various applications such as farming, commercial or industrial use.
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