Nashville renewable energy company Silicon Ranch has unveiled a 35-megawatt solar facility located in Bedford County.

According to a release, Silicon Ranch is partnering with Vanderbilt University, Nashville Electric Service and Tennessee Valley Authority on what is called the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm. First announced in 2020, the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm is the result of an agreement as the first project contracted under TVA’s Green Invest program, which matches demand for green power from commercial, industrial, and institutional customers with new utility-scale solar projects located in the Tennessee Valley.

Silicon Ranch developed and funded the project and hired more than 250 workers to build the solar facility. The company will also serve as the long-term owner and operator.

Silicon Ranch invested more than $50 million to install the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, which projects to generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue for Bedford County.

In 2022, Silicon Ranch also donated 30 acres of its project site to the city of Shelbyville and Bedford County to support the recruitment of Duksan Electera America, Inc. Later that year, Gov. Bill Lee joined state and local officials to welcome Duksan Electera, which is investing $95 million to locate its first manufacturing facility in North America. That effort is expected to yield more than 100 new jobs.

The solar facility will give Vanderbilt a chance to meet its goal, announced in 2019, to power its campus entirely through renewable energy and become carbon neutral by 2050. The renewable generation from the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm will offset approximately 70 percent of the university’s annual Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of enough power to help serve more than 6,000 homes for one year.

“The Vanderbilt I Solar Farm demonstrates what is possible when we work together with a shared vision for the region, and Silicon Ranch is grateful to Vanderbilt for its leadership and to TVA and NES for their strong support of this meaningful renewable energy investment in Bedford County,” Matt Kisber, co-founder and chairman of Silicon Ranch, said in the release.

“I am a proud alumnus of Vanderbilt, as are many of our colleagues, and we are thrilled to dedicate this meaningful project today,” Kisber added. “We also wish to thank the leadership of Bedford County and the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership for their collaboration and for welcoming us into this community.”

The unveiling of the Bedford County facility follows Silicon Ranch and First Solar having announced in October 2022 the expansion of their supply agreement announced in April. (Read more here.)

Founded in 2011, Silicon Ranch bills itself as one of the largest independent power producers in the country, with a portfolio that includes more than five gigawatts of solar and battery storage systems that are contracted, under construction, or operating across the U.S. and Canada.

Airbnb announces 2022 Nashville tax collection figures

Airbnb has released 2022 data on collection and remittance of sales and local occupancy taxes, with the company having collected and remitted nearly $46 million in state, local sales, and occupancy taxes in Davidson County.

According to a release, Airbnb collected over $120 million in sales and occupancy taxes in Tennessee.

While a significant percentage of hotel/motel taxes goes towards funding the downtown core and tourism promotion, legislation passed in 2020 enables Metro to redirect 1 percent of the 6 percent hotel/motel tax charged on all STRs to the Barnes Fund, one of the city’s primary affordable housing mechanisms. STRs generated more than $3.5 million for the Barnes Fund last year alone, the release notes.

“Airbnb is proud of the contributions hosts and guests utilizing its platform make to the local economy in Nashville, particularly when it comes to tax revenue,” Viviana Jordan, Airbnb’s head of public policy for the Southeast U.S., said in the release.

“Back in 2020, we were proud to work with state lawmakers to advance legislation that facilitated the collection of local tax dollars across the state,” Jordan added. “Today, we remain committed to working with policymakers to ensure that tax revenue generated by short-term rentals benefits all Nashvillians and can more directly go to supporting housing affordability efforts.”

Since 2016, Airbnb has collected and remitted more than $290 million in sales and occupancy taxes in Tennessee.

Based in San Francisco, Airbnb was founded in 2007 and has since grown to more than 4 million hosts who have welcomed a collective 1.4 billion guests worldwide.

Atlanta landscape architecture firm opens local office

Atlanta landscape architecture firm Ironwood Design Group has announced a Nashville office in The Gulch and has tapped Josh Bethea, a company principal, to oversee it.

A release notes the office will start with two employees and look to add to that number.

“We are in the heart of Nashville’s bustling and creative urban center, aligning perfectly with our vision,” Sam Sampson, co-founding principal of Ironwood Design Group with Erik Jarkins, said in a release.

Ironwood Design Group’s portfolio includes parks, urban plazas, mixed-use developments and residential communities.

Juicebox designs state license plate

Nashville graphic design business Juicebox Designs has designed the new  breast cancer awareness license plate for the Tennessee Department of Health.

According to a release, proceeds from the sale of the Driving to a Cure plates will be used to raise awareness for breast cancer screening services.

The Driving to a Cure license plate supports the health department’s Tennessee breast and cervical screening program, which targets uninsured and underinsured women.

New registrations for the Driving to a Cure specialty plate can be made in-person at any Tennessee county clerk’s office. The fee for the plate is $61.50 annually and the new plate design is available now.

In 2022, the Driving to a Cure plate raised $145,000 in proceeds to provide breast cancer screenings.

Juicebox Designs is owned by Jay Smith and operates in The Nations.

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