Rivian’s first solar-powered EV charger in Tennessee is now operational


Rivian and solar companies clear loop have introduced the first of Rivian’s solar powered EV chargers in Tennessee.

Rivian’s solar powered EV charger

Rivian’s first Waypoints EV charger is located in Paris, Tennessee, a city of around 10,000 people that’s two hours northwest of Nashville.

Rivian’s new waypoints at Eiffel Tower Park in Paris, 1020 Maurice Fields Drive, have a J1772 connector. And bonus: It’s right next to a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower for riders to admire while it loads.

1 megawatt (MW) from Rivian and Clearloop Paris Solar Farm Puryear Project powers the Level 2 EV charger. the two companies consciously “aim to bring renewable energy into more fossil-fired grids, where it can replace more coal and natural gas”.

Rivian provided upfront financing for the 1 MW solar farm, part of a larger 6.75 MW project that will cover power used by Rivian Waypoints chargers in Tennessee State Parks and other clean energy projects in the region will.

Rivian’s Waypoints EV Chargers are currently located at 11 Tennessee State Parks:

  • Radnor lake
  • Cumberland Mountain
  • South Cumberland
  • Montgomery Bell
  • bay lake
  • Indian mountain
  • Meeman Shelby Forest
  • Natchez Trace
  • way of the Warrior
  • Fall Creek Falls
  • Pickwick landing

As of December 2022, Rivian’s 1MW portion of the Paris Puryear solar farm is expected to generate more renewable energy annually than all State Park sites require.

Electrek’s take

According to Nashville-based Clearloop, only 0.4% of Tennessee’s grid is powered by solar power. Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) says that in the third quarter of 2022, 609 MW of solar power was installed in Tennessee and the share of Tennessee’s electricity from solar energy is 0.9%.

Tennessee’s national solar ranking ranks it 31st out of the 50 states.

Anyway, Tennessee doesn’t even break 1% when it comes to solar power, so the volunteer state has plenty of room for improvement. And unfortunately, it’s headed in the wrong direction: The SEIA projects that Tennessee will fall from 31st place to 35th place over the next five years, with a forecast growth of just 1,286 MW.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which covers all of Tennessee and is federally owned, has decided to build a statewide network of fast charging stations for electric vehicles in February 2021, so that’s a great thing. But TVA only has 14 solar sites and no wind. It gotta do better.

Photo: WBBJ


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