Tennessee Volkswagen plant powers up solar park

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- German automaker Volkswagen is flipping the on switch for a new solar park at its Tennessee assembly plant.

The 33-acre array has a capacity to produce more than 13 gigawatt hours of electricity per year. That's the equivalent of the amount of energy used by 1,200 homes in the Chattanooga area each year.

Volkswagen says the new solar park will meet about 12.5 percent of the plant's electricity needs during full production, and will power all of its operations during off-peak periods.

The solar park will be owned and operated by Silicon Ranch, a company run by former aids to ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen, who played a key role in persuading Volkswagen to select the site for the assembly plant.

VW will buy the power under a 20-year purchasing agreement.

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