WATCH: First look at the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm

The Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, an innovative project that will bring the university closer to its goal of powering campus entirely through renewable energy, is nearing completion in Bedford County, Tennessee. The project, which was announced in 2020 as part of a pioneering partnership between Vanderbilt, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service, will mitigate approximately 70 percent of the university’s annual indirect greenhouse gas emissions through off-site large-scale solar energy.  

Vanderbilt and its partners broke ground on the solar farm this January, with Nashville-based Silicon Ranch funding the project and overseeing construction. The company will also own, operate and maintain the Vanderbilt I Solar Farm, which will offer opportunities to engage faculty and students to learn more about solar energy.

“This solution we came up with is extremely innovative,” Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain said. “Innovation is a core element of the DNA of Vanderbilt University, and this is a wonderful example of innovation and partnership. We wanted 100 percent of our electricity to be from renewable resources, but there was not an existing path forward. So, we had to create one.” 

The university has made significant strides in sustainability efforts, including recently being named to the “green honor roll” of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to a new ranking by The Princeton Review. 

Learn more about the university’s sustainability initiatives on the FutureVU Sustainability website.