Memphis Civic Solar

Posted on February 11, 2014


By Ellen Alpaugh


Never thought of Memphis as a hub for solar energy? The Memphis Bioworks Foundation wants to change that. Last year, Memphis Bioworks, a local non-profit organization, launched the Memphis Civic Solar project, which aims to put solar panels on thirty municipal city-owned buildings across the city, all the while creating jobs and economic activity in the area. Project leader, Kirk Williamson, gave us the details on this exciting new project. According to Williamson, “Memphis has a lot of opportunity. There hasn’t been a lot of solar done in this region, but when you look at how much solar energy we get, we get the best in the state.”

While typical solar projects use field space to put their solar panels, MCS plans to utilize city-owned rooftops for their project space. “Around half of the sites are going to be community centers and libraries, where there’s a great educational component that can be tied in,” reported Williamson, “Who knows, the next engineer might be inspired to pursue that field because he or she saw solar energy on the community center when he was growing up.” The solar panels will be installed all across the city, with each neighborhood being represented.

The Memphis Civic Solar team believes that this project will put Memphis on the map as a leader in sustainability. “It really shows that we’re progressing as a city,” says Williamson. The project aims to employ nearly fifty Memphians, increase economic activity, and most impressive, make Memphis a hub for solar energy in the Mid-South. Bioworks has high expectations for the project and planning is already underway.

Memphis Civic Solar is trying to raise one percent of their budget to pay for their engineering plan that will be set into action as soon as the project is approved. The project itself will take an estimated six months to complete. Bioworks has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise the seed capital needed to start the project. The Memphis Civic Solar team is asking for your help to raise funds and spread the word. Visit to donate. The crowd funding campaign deadline is this Friday, February 14th, so act now! Every little bit helps and gets you directly involved with a fantastic cause to make Bluff City even better.

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Ellen Alpaugh is a senior psychology major at Rhodes.

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