Founded in 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee, Silicon Ranch is one of the largest independent power producers in the country with a portfolio of more than four gigawatts of solar and battery storage systems in the U.S. and Canada. This includes more than 140 solar farms across 14 states from New York to California, including the first large-scale solar projects ever built in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
Supporting Project Development
The Project Development team is responsible for supporting Silicon Ranch’s greenfield site development strategy and execution. This primarily involves identifying suitable parcels land of large enough size near favorable points of interconnection on the grid.
Silicon Ranch’s business model is unique in that it owns and operates every solar project in its portfolio rather than leasing land which means once suitable land is identified the Project Development teams seeks to purchase the land outright from the landowner.
On this team, my role included:
• Utilizing specialized GIS software including Google Earth, qPublic, and Anderson Optimization to locate and preference preliminary project designs for utility-scale solar greenfield development assets spanning more than 300 acres.
• Providing development and pre-construction support to site selection and acquisition, environmental permitting, site assessments, and engaging landowners to negotiate land options to begin due diligence.
• Developing a training guide walking through the individual steps from identifying suitable land on the grid, conducting buildable area analyses to assess the topographical properties of the land, and key talking points for negotiating with land owners to get their properties under option.
Visit to Simon Solar Farm
As part of the internship I got the opportunity to visit a 230 acre solar farm outside of Atlanta, GA called the Simon Solar Farm. It was an eye-opening experience to take in the size and scale of what utility-scale solar projects entail and what the labor requirements are to maintain and operate solar projects.