The Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant in Hawkins County, Tennessee was abandoned mid-construction back in 1981, leaving behind a large area of waste and eroding installations. That was until Birdseye Renewable Energy and United Renewable Energy gave the plant a renewed purpose.
Construction of the plant originally started in 1978, and was stopped suddenly in 1981 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), due to a sudden increase in the cost of nuclear power supplies. For years, the site remained intact, utilized only for safety training exercises. However, with the growing demand for renewable energy, authorities decided to transform the facility into a solar farm.
Directors from Birdseye Renewable Energy and United Renewable Energy installed approximately 3,000 solar panels on the four acre area of the Phipps Bend site. The farm is now expected to provide clean energy for approximately 100 homes.
Although the power plant never operated, it had been expected to generate up to 2,400 megawatts and power around 1.8 million houses. While the solar energy farm won’t be able to reach this number, it is expected to produce between 1,100 and 1,400 megawatt-hours every year. The solar farm is also planned to be operative for at least 30 years without requiring further financial investment.
The Phipps Bend solar panels use a tracking system that configures the angles of the panels throughout the day in order to maximize and optimize sunlight reception. Consequently, as a part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Distributed Solar Solutions program, the energy that is generated at the plant will be sold to Holston Electric. This company will be in charge of distributing it to eastern Tennessee houses.
“We are proud to work with Birdseye on this exciting project to bring solar energy to east Tennessee.”, said Keith Herbs, Vice President of United Renewable Energy. He added, “Due to its location, this project visibly demonstrates how clean, efficient solar energy matches other forms of power generation to meet our country’s growing energy needs.”
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