Butler Electric Cooperative joins 11 other rural electric cooperatives in Kansas in deploying sun farms. Over twenty megawatts (MW) of solar power are slated to be deployed across 800 miles of the state, and power 80,000 homes in rural Kansas.
Butler Electric’s portion of the project consists of two solar arrays sized at 1 MW each. One MW array will be located at their DeGraff substation, while the other will be located near Butler’s Harvey County substation. Preliminary work has already started at DeGraff, with construction expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2021.
Today’s Power Inc. (TPI), a North Little Rock-based company created by rural electric cooperatives in Arkansas, will develop, operate and own the Butler Electric solar arrays. Over the past five years in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, Today’s Power Inc. has successfully installed more than 30 solar projects totaling more than 40 Megawatts.
A solar power service agreement (SPSA) with Today’s Power Inc. has been signed by Butler Electric to purchase the solar energy generated by the two arrays for the next 25 years. This type of agreement ensures that the cooperative is not at risk or liable for the ongoing costs associated with the solar system’s maintenance and operation.
All 12 of the participating Kansas rural electric cooperatives were able to negotiate very favorable long-term rates by working together in the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program. In addition, the solar arrays will be customized to optimize production during the peak demand hours of the cooperative, when electricity is most costly. These variables would assist Butler Electric to stabilize the cost of electricity and keep power affordable for those served at the 8,200-meter locations of the cooperative.
“Butler Electric’s mission is: Being safe, serving members, providing value, and changing lives. We want to promote quality of life and be good stewards of our resources,” says Butler’s Sarah Madden. “Cooperation among cooperatives’ made this project possible.”
Currently, Butler has almost 50 members benefiting from the nearly 400 kW installed solar panels on their own property. Investing in these two large arrays ensures that the clean, affordable power generated would help all Butler Electric members, not just those who placed panels on their own homes.
The expenditure of Butler Electric in solar is only one more way the cooperative operates to reduce the usage of electricity during peak hours and regulate the cost of power. Since 2009, Butler members have saved more than $1 million by reducing power consumption during peak periods in the summer months. Butler’s peak demand rate has successfully enlisted co-op consumer-members to reduce their use of power during peak hours.
Butler Electric Cooperative is owned by its members and governed by a Board of Directors elected from the membership by the members. The cooperative supplies electric power to 8,200 meters in Butler, Chase, Cowley, Greenwood, Harvey, Marion, and Sedgwick counties through 1,850 miles of transmission and distribution lines and 13 substations /delivery points. Butler Electric currently owns a 1-MW solar farm in Butler County. For more information, visit www.butler.coop or our Facebook page.
CONTACT: –Sarah Madden, Public Relations Director (316) 321-9600 or firstname.lastname@example.org