Officials have broken ground on the $1.2 billion Hemlock Semiconductor plant and renamed the road leading to the facility on the outskirts of Clarksville as "Solar Way."
The plant will produce polysilicon, a raw material used to make solar cells and semiconductor devices.
Before remarks at a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Gov. Phil Bredesen noted that the sun was shining into the faces of people in the audience and said that it was appropriate "because that is the future up there."
The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2012 and create more than 800 construction jobs. The plant is expected to have about 500 full-time employees when complete.
Bredesen said the Hemlock plant lays the groundwork for the solar industry in Tennessee.