Big Rivers Electric Corporation has secured an $84,175 federal grant to assist in the building of a new, educational solar array project. The USDA Rural Development funding was awarded through the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP. This renewable energy and energy efficiency loan and grant program is available to small businesses, farmers, and ranchers who make energy-efficient improvements.
Big Rivers, a member-owned, not-for-profit, generation and transmission cooperative, is currently constructing seven Photovoltaic Array Systems. These arrays will be located in McCracken, Marshall, Livingston, Henderson, Daviess, Meade, and Breckinridge Counties. The REAP grant will be utilized for purchasing and installation costs. Many of the selected locations are also offices for the Member-Owner distribution cooperatives Big Rivers serves, Meade County RECC, Kenergy Corporation, and Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation. Other locations include two schools and a public park. The total cost of the solar project is approximately $435,000, with Big Rivers contributing more than $350,000.
The seven solar arrays will generate a combined 165,000 kWh annually, which is enough to power approximately 12 homes. Each array will be transmitting data to a solar project website open to electric distribution cooperative members, students, and the public. Data displayed on the educational website will allow users to monitor production, view cost of generation, and research solar technology.
“Big Rivers is excited to add this renewable energy source to our portfolio for the sole benefit of our Member-Owners,” said Bob Berry, President and CEO of Big Rivers Electric Corporation. “This is another example of our commitment to provide safe, reliable and sustainable energy to our Members.”
Construction on the solar array sites began in June, with several sites near completion. All locations and the educational website are scheduled for a combined launch in late 2017.
Big Rivers Electric Corporation is an electric generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Henderson, Kentucky and owned by three distribution cooperative members—Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation, headquartered in Paducah; Kenergy Corp, headquartered in Henderson; and Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation, headquartered in Brandenburg. These member cooperatives deliver retail electric power and energy to more than 116,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in portions of 22 western Kentucky counties.