As governor, Phil Bredesen pushed for solar, then helped launch solar company

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The U.S. Senate debate between Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen in 3 minutes
Nashville Tennessean

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen spent much of his second term touting the benefits of solar investments.

He dedicated millions in stimulus dollars to set up the Tennessee Solar Institute in Knoxville, recruited two large manufacturers of solar materials to the state, and his administration pushed for legislation providing green energy companies a series of tax breaks.

Weeks after the tax bill passed in June 2010, Bredesen had another reason to root for the burgeoning sector’s success: He became chairman of a new Nashville solar company, Silicon Ranch.

Today, Silicon Ranch builds, owns and operates more than 120 solar projects in 14 states. The company’s partners include global oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell, which bought a 43 percent stake in the company this year, and Canada-based Greystone Managed Investments. It employs about 45 people, who mostly work in downtown Nashville.