Under the Cooperative’s Sixth Cooperative Principle, 12 cooperatives in Kansas are joining together to make a small investment in solar energy for the next 25 years or more. Participating electrical cooperatives will be able to source inexpensive solar power to support their members through the Kansas Cooperative’s solar cooperative program and reduce their peak demand.
That opportunity began when the wholesale power contract between all participating cooperatives and their G&T, Kansas Electric Power Cooperatives, was recently amended to allow Kansas Electric Cooperatives to source up to 15% of peak demand themselves – at 5% this amount specifically for the addition of solar.
Proving that utility-scale solar energy offers more cost-effective options for the benefit of all consumer members of the cooperatives, TPI was selected as the developer and energy partner for this company through extensive research of the participating cooperatives and an extensive call for proposals (RFP) process by GDS & Associates managed.
TPI is owned by electrical cooperatives and was formed to provide solar panels to Arkansas electrical cooperatives that otherwise would not be able to take advantage of federal tax incentives. Cooperative colleagues in neighboring countries quickly found out about TPI’s program and wanted a well-known business partner to make their solar system available.
All installed systems are dimensioned in the range of 1 MW. Each system is concluded with a 25-year power purchase contract with additional 5-year options. Cooperatives will only be responsible for purchasing electricity from solar parks and have low up-front costs associated with developing renewable solar energy. This generation method enables these cooperatives to increase the production of renewable energy throughout the year and to reduce peak demand. By reducing peak demand, each cooperative can offer its members financial stability while reducing their carbon footprint.
Currently these projects are in the engineering process and construction will begin in phases starting in 2021 and running through 2022. Individual projects for participating cooperatives will be announced as initiated and completed.