Solar power coming to Wyandotte County with new BPU partnership

Utility customers can buy panels from solar farm
KCK solar farm gives homeowners new power option
Posted at 6:43 AM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 08:39:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- One metro utility company is going greener. The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities in Wyandotte County has built a one megawatt solar farm. 

Power from the 3,780 solar panels will go into the existing grid. BPU said it already generates about 45 percent of its power from renewable sources like wind and water. 

The utility will dedicate the new solar farm and launch a unique partnership Tuesday.

BPU customers will have the option to buy up to ten panels at the farm. This will give owners a lot of the same benefits as installing panels on their own roof, but they won't have to maintain or install them -- the panels will remain at BPU's farm. 

Each panel saves customers about $40 per year on their electric bill according to BPU spokesman David Mehlhaff. 

But beyond the slight cost savings, solar panels will reduce customers' carbon footprint. 

"That's really a chance to say, 'I'm green and I'm reducing my carbon footprint.' That's the attraction," Mehlhaff highlighted. "It isn't so much [that] you're going to save a lot on your energy bill. You're going to get some credits and you'll save $39-$40 a year, and that's great, every penny counts."

Mehlhaff said customers can own the panels for 25 years. If you move out of the county, you can sell the panels back to the utility. 

Lee's Summit-based MC Power Companies helped build the solar farm. It said the panels can even produce electricity when it's cloudy outside. 

"This is a tremendous opportunity for someone who has a passion for renewables, who understands a longterm balance strategy for generation, to partner with their utility and experience a lot of the benefits of a rooftop situation, but with their utility as a good partner," explained Loren Williamson, MC Power Companies' senior vice president of business development. 

The solar farm is next to BPU's main power plant south of the Missouri River, between I-435 and I-635.

BPU plans to double the solar farm over the next several years. It will then offer the partnership to commercial property owners.

For information on how to buy a panel, call BPU at 913-573-9997.