Twin Valley Electric Cooperative dedicated their new sun farm with a flip of the switch today. The Mound Valley sun farm is intended to minimize the cooperative’s peak demand and capture cost effective natural resources.
Originally announced in November of 2020, Twin Valley Electric Cooperative’s sun farm was formally linked to the grid by Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) of North Little Rock, Arkansas. The sun farm is a part of the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program, a TPI solar power services agreement program that ensures low-cost renewable energy to 12 participating Kansas electric cooperatives.
The Mound Valley sun farm was customized in the design process to maximize output during the cooperative’s peak demand hours, when power is most expensive. These factors will help Twin Valley Electric Cooperative control power costs and stabilize rates for their members. Along with the other participating Kansas electric cooperatives, Twin Valley Electric Cooperative negotiated very competitive long-term pricing.
“While the cost-savings was the primary reason we were interested in adding solar to our purchased power portfolio, what makes this arrangement workable is that TPI will maintain ownership of the sun farm . TVEC will simply buy all the power produced. This arrangement minimizes the risk of unexpected maintenance costs,” said Angie Erickson, Twin Valley Electric Cooperative’s CEO.
Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI) was chosen by Kansas Cooperatives in 2020 to provide solar-produced power for cooperative use. Work on the Mound Valley sun farm began in early 2021 and was completed in May 2021, after all regulatory and engineering approvals were issued. For the length of the 25-year agreement, the cooperative will purchase electricity generated by the sun farms at a low, fixed cost. TPI owns and operates 100% of the solar array.
“ Twin Valley Electric Cooperative is now harvesting low-cost, reliable, and environmentally beneficial, renewable energy, and we are proud to have ‘flipped the switch’ on this sun farm dedicated to their member’s use,” said Michael Henderson, President of Today’s Power, Inc. He continued to say, “this is a great example of practicing good stewardship like the rural consumers served by Twin Valley Electric.”
This opportunity to participate in the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program began when the wholesale power contract between all participating cooperatives and their generation and transmission cooperative, Kansas Electric Power Cooperatives, was 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.
Using the sixth cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives, twelve cooperatives in Kansas are joining together to make a small investment for the next 25 years or more in the harvesting of sunshine. 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.
Owned and governed by the members it serves, Twin Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc, (TVEC) has been providing electricity in Southeast Kansas since 1945.
With its service territory located between the Verdigris and Neosho river valleys, Twin Valley serves rural homes, farms, and businesses in Labette, Neosho, Montgomery, & Cherokee counties.
Today’s Power, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. Today’s Power, Inc. offers turn-key solar photovoltaic systems, energy storage systems, electric vehicles and charging stations for all sizes and applications.
TPI’s unique approach to in-depth analysis of utility rates and billing allows it to design renewable energy systems and manage that energy to maximize the benefits of solar and storage for not-for-profit as well as for-profit entities.
MOUND VALLEY SUN FARM:
RACKING: Single-Axis Tracking
ACREAGE: Approximately 8 acres fenced
SIZE/CAPACITY: 1.4 MW DC / 1 MW AC
PRODUCTION: Over 2,409,373 kWh annually
INVERSION: 8 Inverters – 140 Strings (25 modules/string)
LIFESPAN: More than 25 years
Twin Valley Electric procured low, up-front cost solar energy to serve their membership through the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program and reduce their peak demand.
IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE WITH TECHNOLOGY AND GRID RESILIENCY
This method of generation makes it possible for the co-ops to increase the production of renewable energy throughout the year and reduce peak demand. It said the reduction of peak demand will enable each co-op to provide financial stability to its members while also reducing their carbon footprint. It said this is just one way electric cooperatives in Kansas are helping support local businesses, industries and communities with the resources they need to grow.