Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative joins 11 other rural electric cooperatives in Kansas in deploying sun farms and investing in over 20 megawatts (MW) of solar power to be deployed across 800 miles of the state, and power 80,000 homes in rural Kansas.
Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative’s portion of the project consists of one array sized at 891 kW/DC. Preliminary work has already started on the land acquired for the project by Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative. Construction should be completed by June of 2022.
The sun farm will be in Sumner County and will be near Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative’s Miller Substation.
Today's Power Inc. (TPI), a North Little Rock-based company created by rural electric cooperatives in Arkansas, will develop and own the solar array, and the other over 20 arrays in Kansas. Over the past five years in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, Today's Power Inc. has successfully installed more than 25 solar projects totaling more than 40 Megawatts. A solar power service agreement (SPSA) with Today's Power Inc. has been signed by Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative 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 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, in the design process, 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 all assist Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative to stabilize the cost of electricity and keep power affordable for those served at the 4,519-meter locations of the cooperative.
“It is our responsibility to provide affordable electricity to the member owners of the cooperative,” stated Sumner-Cowley CEO Coni Adams. “Demonstrating cooperative principle #6 – Cooperation among cooperatives, we are able to work together and provide this cost-effective solution for our membership today and for years to come.” Adams stated, “Our members live in rural Kansas for a reason. Whether it’s their family farming operation, rural machine shop or simply because they love the rural way of life, we are forging opportunities to keep living rural achievable.”
“We are proud to be part of the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program. This program not only provides low cost power to our distribution cooperative, but furnishes an educational opportunity to the youth of our region,” says Adams. Investing in solar power ensures that the clean, affordable power generated would help all Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative members, not just those who placed panels on their own homes. The expenditure of Sumner Cowley Electric Cooperative 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.