Co-op Solar ribbon cutting this month
Construction crews this spring began installing a new solar array, a collection of solar panels that use the sun’s energy to create electricity, at the EnerStar Electric Cooperative headquarters in Paris. The array is one of three new solar arrays being constructed as part of Co-op Solar, a new community solar program that will be available later this year for members of EnerStar and other electric cooperatives that receive wholesale electricity from Wabash Valley Power.
“Community solar programs have been gaining interest across the United States as a great way to take advantage of solar energy without requiring homeowners to spend a lot of money to install and maintain hardware themselves,” said Mike Clark, President and CEO of EnerStar. “Often, people desire solar power, but are turned off by the complexity of installing and maintaining solar panels, or maybe their land is not conducive to the large installation footprint. We handle these difficulties so they can participate.” Clark added that another benefit was that those who rent their home can receive solar energy as well.
In all, a half-dozen solar arrays in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri will create electricity for Co-op Solar. Those participating in the solar program get the benefit of solar arrays across the Midwest. “It may be cloudy here in east central Illinois, but it may be sunny in Missouri where one of our other solar arrays is located. That is a benefit to our solar program,” said Clark. The arrays will have the potential to generate up to 1.7 MW of solar energy.
Members are invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 27 to officially launch Co-op Solar. The arrays are located just north of the EnerStar office on Illinois Hwy 1. Signs will direct traffic, but the lane to the solar array is on the west side of the road between the Rodeway Inn and Pool’s True Value.