Kentucky Gets a Little Solar

One reason why Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can win an election based on "Obama’s War on Coal" is because there’s so little renewable energy in the state.

The US Army will be home to the biggest solar array in the state, a tiny 5-megawatt system. It will be spread across 20 acres on a former landfill at Fort Campbell.

Pennyrile Rural Electric Coop is building the solar system. They got a $3.1 million Department of Energy (DOE) grant for the project in addition to their own  $1.9 million. The Army will pay for the electricity it produces under a long-term power purchase agreement.

 Pennyrile is embarking on the largest solar energy project in Kentucky which will serve Fort Campbell. The 5-MW PV system should be installed and operational by December 2015. (Photo By: Getty Images)

DOE chose the project for funding to encourage further solar deployment in an area that’s underserved by renewables. And the Army will use it as a model for building solar systems on former  landfills.

The Coop has also done energy efficiency projects at the Army base, saving about $3.6 million in energy costs since 2005 on lighting and other building efficiency upgrades and energy management systems.

Not surprisingly, that’s sparking alot of interest. “People want to talk to us, ask us how it works, how the financing works,” says John Wheeler, the co-op’s vice president of engineering. “It comes down to what the military installation wants. Right now, there is a real push on renewable energy and energy independence,” he told Electric Co-op Today.

There’s also a 2 MW solar array at Fort Knox military base in Kentucky. 

The Army is buying $7 billion worth of "reliable, locally generated, renewable and alternative energy" through 2030.

Read our article, Solar’s Growing Role in the US Military.

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