Plateau Partnership Park’s got the power

By Damon Lawrence - Roane County News
Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm (Updated: October 23, 7:00 pm)

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Aug. 4 to welcome a solar farm to Plateau Partnership Park.

Two months later, the site is already generating power.

“TVA just interconnected the site last Tuesday (Oct. 11), so it’s officially put into service,” Vis Solis Inc. President and CEO Carlos Mayer said.

The 1 megawatt site features 3,276 solar panels. Mayer said setting those up was the easy part of the project.

“It takes like two months to build it, but more than two years to go through the paperwork with TVA, the permitting process, developing the project,” Mayer said.

“That sort of thing takes much more time than installing it.”

A ceremonial plugging-in ceremony was held at the site on Thursday.

“This thing is impressive isn’t it?” Roane County Commission Chairman Ron Berry asked Rockwood Mayor Mike “Brillo” Miller, who agreed.

Miller, Mayer, Rockwood Electric Utility General Manager Kendall Bear and others spoke about the project at the plug-in ceremony.

“The role we had was the interconnect,” Bear said. “From the solar panels, the solar generation to our power disruption line to ultimately get it out there to the customers.”

Plateau Partnership Park is an industrial park venture between Roane, Cumberland and Morgan counties.

The solar farm is in the Cumberland County portion of the industrial park, adjacent to Interstate 40.

“Having been here for the groundbreaking, it’s gratifying to see how well the project turned out,” said Steve Noe, TVA’s manager for mid-scale renewables and renewable energy credits.

Noe said the solar farm is expected to yield nearly 1.7 million kilowatt hours in its first year.

“That’s impressive,” Noe said.

According to a press release about the project, the site was developed under a partnership between Restoration Services Inc. and Vis Solis with cooperation from Plateau Partnership Park and the city of Rockwood.