Solar Power Sparks Educational and Grid Modernization in East Tennessee

White Pine Solar Farm flipping the switch

Flipping the switch to go live with the White Pine Solar Farm in Tennessee (Photo Credit: Business Wire)

by | May 13, 2024

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Clearloop, a subsidiary of Silicon Ranch, has announced its latest renewable energy deployment with the launch of the 2.8 MWDC White Pine Solar Farm in White Pine, Tennessee. This project is a collaborative effort involving financial technology platform Intuit Inc. and REI Co-op, a specialty outdoor retailer, underlining their commitment to environmental sustainability and community engagement.

Collaborative Efforts in Renewable Energy

Intuit and REI have played pivotal roles in supporting the development of the White Pine Solar Farm, each contributing to 1.4 MWDC of the project. This initiative is part of Clearloop’s innovative strategy to assist companies in offsetting their carbon footprints. The project is expected to prevent over 162 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere throughout its operational life. It will also generate sufficient low-cost electricity to power nearly 400 homes in the local area.

The success of this project also hinges on the cooperation with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Dispersed Power Program and local power companies, including Morristown Utility Systems, which were both instrumental in bringing this renewable energy initiative to fruition.

Intuit’s Ongoing Commitment

Since 2021, Intuit has collaborated with Clearloop to decarbonize the electric grid and expand access to renewable energy across Tennessee. This collaboration builds upon Intuit’s Prosperity Hub Program, initiated in 2016 to foster economic prosperity in underserved communities. The program has created significant financial impact and job opportunities in the region, while also preparing students for future careers through its school district program. Intuit has furthered its commitment to the region by also donating 1,600 renewable energy certificates (RECs) annually for 40 years to local schools in Jefferson and Hamblen Counties, setting a precedent for green powering the public schools in the region.

REI’s Renewable Initiatives

REI’s White Pine Solar Farm involvement underscores its dedication to clean energy and sustainable community investments. The energy generated from this project will power REI’s new distribution center in Lebanon, Tennessee, which operates with high energy efficiency and serves a broad member base. Matt Thurston, Divisional Vice President of Sustainability at REI, stated, “The White Pine project represents an exciting addition to REI’s renewable energy portfolio. We’re proud to help usher in new-to-the-world solar energy in the Tennessee Valley, a region where we recently opened a new distribution center, operate multiple stores, and have thousands of members. Clearloop’s vision to decarbonize the grid by supporting projects that expand access to clean energy in more communities—along with the project’s investments in the local workforce and regenerative land practices—is one in which we strongly believe.”

Clearloop’s Role and Vision

Laura Zapata, CEO and Co-Founder of Clearloop expressed the company’s mission to decarbonize the grid through projects like the White Pine Solar Farm that offer substantial environmental, educational, and economic benefits, saying, “This project represents the possibilities fostered by responsible, thoughtful, and meaningful corporate climate action. We look forward to continuing to build on our relationships with corporate leaders and communities alike to deliver on the promise of a transformational and inclusive energy transition.” Owned and operated by Silicon Ranch, Clearloop will maintain a long-term interest in East Tennessee, ensuring ongoing benefits from this renewable energy project.

The White Pine Solar Farm exemplifies the powerful impact of corporate responsibility in climate action. Through strategic partnerships and a commitment to community-focused initiatives, partnering companies can set a standard for integrating renewable energy solutions in the areas that will benefit most. 

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