Large-scale solar farm coming to West Tennessee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Large-scale solar farm coming to West Tennessee

By Justin Hanson - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

Last week, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen announced that a large-scale, earth-friendly project is coming to West Tennessee, and officials hope it will lay the groundwork for even more industrial development. 

The project involves solar panels like the ones at Sharp Manufacturing along Raines Road. Officials say the solar panels, along with a little country sunshine, will soon change the face of West Tennessee. 

"Green is the new buzzword and Haywood county will go green," said Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith.

Memphis' Sharp Manufacturing is working with officials in Haywood County to build a 20-acre solar farm near Interstate 40.  It will be the largest solar facility east of the Mississippi River.

Sharp officials say the solar facility in Haywood county will be 100 times larger than the one right here in Memphis.

"It'll create 5 mega watts of power...enough power to power 600 houses," Smith added.

That's about 10 percent of homes in Haywood county.  The solar farm will serve as an educational site for students and the public.

It's also expected to encourage future green efforts and investments.

"I think the governor is making a statement that he's serious about helping West Tennessee by developing our mega-site," Smith continues. 

"Really puts Tennessee on the map as a solar state," said Sharp engineer Randy Johnson.

"As many visitors as we got there, people who come back say you've got to see what's going on out there in West Tennessee," added Duane Lavery with the Regional Economic Development Authority.

And county leaders hope that more tourists will mean more industry coming to the three thousand acre farmland.

"From a marketing standpoint, it's a win, win, win all the way around," Lavery said.

Officials hope to have this new solar farm up and running by the end of this year.

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