Since the groundbreaking in May, progress has been steady on preparing the land for the solar plant along Route 106, just south of Winchester.
At full capacity, the 500 kW solar plant will provide enough electricity to power about 170 homes on the hottest day. The solar facility will consist of 2,200 solar panels covering about four acres.
Of the total $1,800,000 costs, $500,000 will come from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and its grant through the Renewable Energy Business Development Program. We are also pursuing a grant from the USDA. Additionally, the co-op will sell renewable energy credits. The remaining costs will be borne by the co-op members as the least expensive part of their power supply.
The solar plant will produce 840,000 kWh per year. With the solar plant, the co-op’s portion of Prairie Power wind resources and its own wind resources, the co-op will have renewable capacity equal to 14.4% of its peak.
The power produced by the solar plant will be less expensive than our purchased power. There will be a very slight lowering on the members’ bills. The solar panels were manufactured in the United States. Projected completion of the plant is in the fall of this year. Like the co-op’s wind turbine, the solar plant will serve as a learning opportunity for area schools and colleges.
To see the latest progress pictures from the construction, like our Facebook page.