Clark County residents may be able to lower their future energy bills when one of the biggest solar farms in the state is expected to begin operating in November.
Kentucky Touchstone Energy Cooperatives officials broke ground Tuesday on what will be a new solar farm on Lexington Road, next to the East Kentucky Power Cooperative.
Kentucky Touchstone Energy Cooperatives is comprised of 16 not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperatives.
“Like the song says, ‘The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home.’ Pretty soon, every time the sun is shining bright, we’ll be making electricity,” said Tony Campbell, CEO of East Kentucky Power Cooperative, which will own and operate the solar farm on behalf of the electric cooperatives.
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The farm will cover 60 acres near I-64 and U.S. 60 in Clark County. It will include 32,300 solar panels, and each panel is expected to produce as much as 50 kilowatt hours of solar energy monthly.
Of those solar panels, 1,900 are tracking panels, which track the sun as it moves across the sky. Each panel has a capacity of about 335 watts, which can power a blender.
Energy output will vary with the sun’s angle, the time of year, the number of cloudy days in the month and other factors.
Members of the cooperatives can buy a license for one or more of the panels. Customers pay a one-time fee of $460 a panel for a 25-year license. The electricity generated can be used to offset a customer’s electric use, and customers will receive solar renewable energy credits that can be sold or retired.
The project is expected to cost $17.7 million and will be financed through federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, which are used to finance renewable-energy projects.
Other solar farms in the state include a community solar farm in Berea with 246 panels, enough to power six or seven homes. Developers are considering creating a solar farm in Pike County that would produce 50 to 100 megawatts of electricity.