Dozens of Midwest Energy members, employees, and state and local elected officials were on hand for the Community Solar Array’s formal dedication ceremony, held April 23rd in Colby.
Earnie Lehman, Midwest Energy’s General Manager, and Jim Hartman, Clean Energy Collective’s Vice President for Strategic Development, both spoke on the project’s significance in spurring solar growth in Kansas, and in the region.
“This array, owned by our members, is just another example of how producing energy locally makes sense,” Lehman said, also mentioning the ongoing expansion of the Goodman Energy Center in Hays, and MWE’s purchase of Kansas-sourced wind energy.
Hartman remarked that the array is unique among the nearly 30 his company has completed to date, due to its tracking technology that tilts panels throughout the day to optimize exposure to the sun. “We’ve built arrays for two dozen utilities in eight states, and this one is not only the largest, but it is also the most efficient and productive.”
After the ceremony, those on hand were given a quick tour of the facility, and some members were able to locate their panels in the array, and sign them.
Nearly 60% of the array’s 3,960 panels have been purchased by Midwest Energy electric customers. Panels have been purchased for accounts serving residential, commercial, oil, irrigation and ag accounts. A rebate offered by Midwest Energy and CEC lowers the price to $891 per 305-watt panel, with all insurance and maintenance costs included. Owners get a credit of 10.5 cents for each kilowatt hour their panels generate on their monthly electric bill. Each panel is estimated to deliver roughly $57/year in credits, for a 6.4 percent rate of return.
For more information about the community array, visit www.mwecommunitysolar.com, or call CEC at 1-800-646-0323.