Is Tennessee “Movin’ On Up” in List of Top Solar States?


While Sharp plans to shut down manufacturing in the state, Restoration Services forms a partnership to build one of Tennessee’s largest solar farms. How much will the solar industry grow in the state?

Tennessee does not figure prominently in lists of top solar states.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no solar industry there. Even a couple years ago, people were talking about what solar power could do for jobs and the economy in the state. While there was some concern over Sharp’s recent announcement of plans to halt solar power production in the state, most U.S. solar jobs are not in manufacturing.

It turns out some big things are afoot for solar in Tennessee. The state is joining many others in realizing that brownfields — sites like a large landfill in New York — are ideal places to install solar.


Many large solar installations are controversial, because they may be sited on delicate habitat, sometimes even places that endangered species call home.


Not a problem for a brownfield. When you have land that can’t be used for much else, you have the perfect place for solar.


And what better brownfield than a former uranium enrichment site? The Knoxville News-Sentinel recently reported that one such site is becoming a “green power mecca” in the state.


Restoration Services Inc., an environmental services company doing work for the Department of Energy, has installed solar in the area before. In 2012, the company installed the Brightfield One Solar Project there.


Now, Restoration Services is partnering with Vis Solis, a subsidiary of a German firm, to build a solar farm on the site. At 1 MW, it will be one of Tennessee’s largest. The power produced by the solar farm, enough to power nearly 100 homes, will go into the TVA power grid.  


This is one example of the fast-growing solar industry in Tennessee. We look forward to hearing about many others.