Co-Ops Plan To Offer Licenses For Panels At 60-Acre Solar Farm In Clark County

Starting in 2017, electric cooperative members will be able to license solar panels for their home or business from a solar farm located in Clark County, Ky.

Next spring, East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) will begin installing 32,300 solar panels on 60 acres of the property at its headquarters facility, adjacent to Interstate 64 east of Lexington. The solar farm, one of the largest in Kentucky, is expected to begin generating electricity later in 2017.

EKPC and its 16 owner-member electric cooperatives, known collectively as Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, plan to license solar panels to co-op members, who will receive credit on their electric bills for their share of energy produced. The arrangement is known as Cooperative Solar.

With a one-time payment of $460 per panel, participants will receive the benefits of renewable energy for the next 25 years without having to install or maintain facilities on their own property. Their monthly electric bills will be credited for the value of the energy and capacity associated with their licensed share of the solar farm.

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“For electric co-op members who are interested in harnessing renewable energy for their home or business, Cooperative Solar is the easy, affordable option,” said Anthony “Tony” Campbell, EKPC’s president and CEO. Installing and maintaining a large number of panels in one location helps keep costs below that of most private solar installations.

Campbell noted that co-op members have requested such an option. In addition, the solar facility will help EKPC diversify its generating sources, which is a strategic goal of the cooperative.

Before EKPC’s 16 owner-member cooperatives can sell Cooperative Solar licenses, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) must approve tariffs under which the transactions can take place. It is expected the co-ops will begin selling 25-year licenses in the next several months.

Development of the solar farm project was approved last week by the PSC. Construction of the solar farm is estimated to cost $17.7 million. EKPC plans to finance the project by issuing New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to take advantage of federal incentives that can offset much of the interest expense.

EKPC’s 16 owner-member electric cooperatives are:
·         Big Sandy RECC, Paintsville, Ky.
·         Blue Grass Energy, Nicholasville, Ky.
·         Clark Energy Cooperative, Winchester, Ky.
·         Cumberland Valley Electric, Gray, Ky.
·         Farmers RECC, Glasgow, Ky.
·         Fleming-Mason Energy, Flemingsburg, Ky.
·         Grayson RECC, Grayson, Ky.
·         Inter-County Energy Cooperative, Danville, Ky.
·         Jackson Energy Cooperative, McKee, Ky.
·         Licking Valley RECC, West Liberty, Ky.
·         Nolin RECC, Elizabethtown, Ky.
·         Owen Electric Cooperative, Owenton, Ky.
·         Salt River Electric, Bardstown, Ky.
·         Shelby Energy Cooperative, Shelbyville, Ky.
·         South Kentucky RECC, Somerset Ky.
·         Taylor County RECC, Campbellsville, Ky.