The Emporia Gazette
4 Rivers Electric Cooperative is among 12 Kansas Electric Coops partnering to develop 800 miles of Sun Farms across the state with Today’s Power, Inc., according to a written release received Monday.
The projects are slated to begin as early as 2021, but zoning in Lyon County has not yet been approved.
The Lebo-based company is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative that provides services to more than 12,000 locations and more than 7,000 residential and commercial consumers in Lyon, Chase, Coffey, Anderson, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Osage, Wabaunsee, Wilson, and Woodson counties.
“Using the sixth cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives, 12 cooperatives in Kansas are joining together to make a small investment for the next 25 years or more in the harvesting of sunshine,” the release said. “Participating electric cooperatives will be able to procure low-up-front cost solar energy to serve their membership through the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program and reduce their peak demand.”
The partnership with Today’s Power, Inc. is a 25-year program to harvest renewable energy in the state for the participating electric coops. TPI’s involvement has “attracted the best possible long-term pricing.”
TPI has constructed solar arrays for 15 of the 17 electric cooperatives of Arkansas as well as cooperatives and cooperative organizations in Oklahoma and Tennessee.
All systems installed will be sized in the 1 MW range. Each system is contracted through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with additional 5-year options. Cooperatives will simply be responsible for the purchase of electricity generated from the solar farms and will have low-upfront costs associated with the development of renewable solar energy.
This method of generation makes it possible for these cooperatives to increase the production of renewable energy year round and to reduce peak demand. The reduction of peak demand will enable each cooperative to provide financial stability to its members while also reducing their carbon footprint. This is just another way electric cooperatives in Kansas are helping support local businesses, industries, and individuals with the resources they need to grow as efficient, responsible, and successful contributors to our communities.
Construction of more than 20 Megawatts of solar power will be spread out across the state.
“This opportunity began when the wholesale power contract between all participating cooperatives and their G&T, Kansas Electric Power Cooperatives, was recently modified to provide Kansas electric cooperatives with the ability to self-procure up to 15% of peak demand, with 5% of that amount specifically allowing for the addition of solar,” the release states. “Proving that utility scale solar provides more cost-effective ways to benefit all consumer-member of the cooperatives, TPI was chosen to be the developer and energy partner for this venture through extensive research undertaken by participating cooperatives and a comprehensive Request For Proposals process administered by GDS & Associates.”