EKPC solar farm ready to make energy

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Even on a gray, cold over cast day, East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s new solar energy installation was generating power.

With a maximum capacity of 8.5 megawatts, The facility was producing about four megawatts Monday morning.

“As cloudy as it is today, it’s making power,” project manager Matt Clark said.

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Cooperative Solar Farm One, built on 60 acres near EKPC’s headquarters on U.S. 60 in Clark County, will be dedicated Wednesday morning, less than six months from the public groundbreaking for the project.

In all, 32,300 solar panels were installed across the property, which is visible from Interstate 64. Of those, 1,800 are tracking panels which can follow the sun across the sky during the course of the day, Clark said.

The farm’s capacity is well below the 3,000 megawatts EKPC’s other power plants generate, but renewable energy is something customers have been asking about for some time, EKPC External Affairs Manager Nick Comer said.

Customers can purchase a license for $460 per panel, which entitles them to a bill credit for the next 25 years. The amount of the credit is based on the amount of energy generated by the panel, he said.

So far, more than 400 of the licenses have been sold, he said.

“We’re in a little bit of uncharted territory for the cooperative,” Comer said. “With 400 licenses, we’re very happy with that. It’s hard to compare it to anything.”

Comer believes all 32,300 panels will be licensed.

“We feel confident we can license those panels,” he said.

Clark said the facility is being tested to make sure it performs to expectations and specification currently. The farm is supposed to go live by Nov. 5, but it could be sooner.

“We’re planning on any day now,” Clark said. “Obviously, we’re expecting to be (ready) early.”

The panels funnel energy as direct current to six inverters, which convert it to alternating current, Comer said. From the inverters, the electricity is sent to a nearby substation and into the power grid, he said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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