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EKPC flips switch on solar farm

A cold, rainy morning was less than ideal dedicate East Kentucky Power’s new solar farm in Clark County, but the 60-acre facility was still generating energy.

The cooperative broke ground on the 60-acre, $18 million project in May in response to customers’ desire for renewable energy.

“For many years, our cooperatives’ customers have asked for options to provide clean, renewable energy,” EKPC Board Chairman Joe Spalding said. “Our members challenged us to keep doing.

‘We

want energy form the sun and we want to participate.’ We’ve worked hard to make it affordable and convenient.”

EKPC is selling licenses for each of the 32,300 solar panels in the site to customers. For a one-time fee of $460, customers will receive a credit on their bill based on the energy generated by their share of the farm for 25 years, EKPC External Affairs Manager Nick Comer said. So far, more than 450 licenses have been sold.

“They are eager for this new energy,” EKPC President and CEO Tony Campbell said Wednesday morning. “We thank them for their support.”

The vast majority of the solar panels are fixed in place. There are 1,800 panels which will track the sun across the sky during the course of the day.

At peak capacity, the farm will generate 8.5 megawatts of energy, which is enough energy for about 1,000 homes, according to EKPC. Comer said customers should be able to recoup the license fee within about 15 years.

Comer said there may be an expansion of the facility later, but the next goal is to license all the panels.

“We have some work to do to get those sold,” he said.

Comer said the farm is already producing energy and is connected to the electrical grid.

“We’re very excited about this,” Comer said. “We’ve been talking about it and planning for several months now.”

About Fred Petke

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

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