Construction of the Phipps Bend Nuclear Power plant near Surgoinsville, TN, started in 1978 and stopped in 1981. Mounting public concern over nuclear power safety in the wake of the Three Mile Island incident, compounded by declining energy prices and demand, prompted Tennessee Valley Authority to abandon the project.
The site has been largely inactive since then but has recently been re-energized as the Phipps Bend Solar
Facility. Almost 3,000 solar panels now sit on four acres near the remains of the unfinished nuclear plant. The project uses NEXTtracker tracking technology, enabling the panels to follow the size and optimize energy output.
The solar system generates about 1 MW of DC power, which is converted to AC power by mini-inverters, sufficient to meet the needs of 100 average-sized homes.
Birdseye Renewable Energy, the project’s developer and owner, partnered with United Renewable Energy to design and construct the solar energy farm.