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EnerStar Electric members gain long-term benefits from low-cost solar deal

Members of EnerStar Electric, along 22 other member co-ops of Wabash Valley Power (WVPA), will benefit from a long term agreement to purchase the energy and capacity generated by what will be the largest solar array built in Illinois.

EnerStar’s wholesale supplier of electricity, WVPA, will be the sole buyer of the energy produced from the Prairie State Solar Project, a 99-megawatt (MW) array to be built on privately owned land in Perry County, Ill. New York-based Ranger Power, a utility-scale solar development company, will build the array, which will produce enough electricity to power 15,000 homes. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late 2019 with operations beginning in 2021. WVPA entered into a 30-year agreement to purchase the power produced by the array, while the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the project will be sold through the Illinois Power Agency REC procurement process.

The Prairie State Solar Project will more than double the solar capacity in Illinois. The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that installed solar projects statewide collectively total 81.5 MW.

“As a not-for-profit cooperative, our first priority is to provide reliable, affordable energy to our members,” said Mike Clark, CEO of EnerStar Electric. “This agreement locks in a low-cost fuel source that helps us manage our bottom line and keep costs contained over the next 30 years. Because it is solar, we are proud of the environmental benefits, too.”

Ranger Power has been engaged with state and county officials throughout the development of the project. “We’re excited to be one step closer to moving forward with this meaningful investment in our county which will support new jobs and new revenues for our community to invest in schools, roads and bridges,” said State Rep. Terri Bryant.

The project represents a nearly $100 million new investment in southwestern Illinois that will contribute millions in tax revenue without requiring additional public infrastructure or services. It will create an estimated 200 jobs during construction and three to five full-time positions once the site is operational.

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