BPU offers community solar program for commercial customers

The Board of Public Utilities has opened its BPU Community Solar Farm to commercial utility customers.

The solar farm has nearly 4,000 photovoltaic solar panels.

Commercial customers now will be able to have access to solar energy through the BPU’s solar farm program, that makes it affordable and accessible to everyone, a spokesman stated.

Previously, the community solar farm program was available only to residential customers.

“We are pleased to now offer BPU commercial customers the option of utilizing renewable solar energy that is produced right here in Wyandotte County,” said Don Gray, general manager of BPU, in a news release. “The Community Solar Farm provides simple, affordable access to solar energy for the entire community, with participants benefiting from reduced costs on their electric bills and the knowledge that they are reducing their individual carbon footprint.”

The BPU scores high on the renewable energy scale, with 45 percent of its power generation from renewable energy sources including wind, hydropower, landfill gas and solar.

Each of the 3,780 individual solar panels in BPU’s 1,000 KW Community Solar Farm will eliminate 12 tons of CO2, according to the spokesman. That’s the equivalent of reducing single automobile emissions of 23,500 miles, planting 278 trees, or recycling 37 tons of waste versus placing it in a landfill.

Commercial BPU customers will be able to lease from one to 500 solar panels over a multi-year period depending on the size of that commercial customer, while receiving a credit of approximately $3.20 a month for each panel on their utility bill. An initial one-time lease fee of $470 applies throughout the 25-year life of the farm, with the user option of selling the individual panel back to BPU if a participant moves out of the service area.

For more information on this new program, go to www.bpu.com/solar, call 913-573-9997, or email BPU at solarpanels@bpu.com.

The BPU also will hold a free solar seminar for Kansas City, Kansas, residents on Tuesday, April 16.

The seminar will take place at the West Wyandotte Public Library, 1737 N. 82nd St., Kansas City, Kansas. Two sessions will take place, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 16.

New BPU wind farm partnership to power KCK

The Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities has partnered with Lenexa-based Tradewind Energy and Enel Green Power to use energy from a new 400 MW wind farm being built in southwest Kansas.

To further diversify its generation mix and use a clean energy alternative, BPU will purchase 200MW of energy through a 20-year renewable energy Purchase Power Agreement, and will tie into the Southwest Power Pool Midwest Energy transmission system.

The partnership was announced at a news event with Gov. Sam Brownback in Topeka, Kan., on Friday, April 8.

“When this project becomes fully operational in 2017, it will increase the size of BPU’s renewable portfolio to 45 percent of its total energy output,” stated Don Gray, general manager of BPU. “Maintaining a diversified mix of generation capabilities allows our public utility to deliver the most affordable, reliable, and environmentally friendly energy we can to the community we serve.”

This long-term partnership will provide a fixed priced on energy for the utility, avoiding market volatility, in turn saving ratepayers money over time. In addition, it will allow BPU to become one of the greenest utilities in the region, and the nation.

The state of Kansas currently has a Renewable Energy Standard goal of 15 percent which climbs to 20 percent in 2020. With the Cimarron Bend wind energy initiative, as well as existing hydro, landfill gas, and wind projects already in place, BPU will achieve a renewable energy capacity of approximately 65-70 percent by 2018, making it one of the most progressive public utilities in the country on this front.

Known as the Cimarron Bend wind farm, this 400 MW project will consist of 200 wind turbines spread out over 60 miles south of Dodge City, Kan.

The Cimarron Bend project is one of 10 new wind energy projects currently under development in Kansas. “When this new wind farm is complete, wind will account for more than 23 percent of all the electricity produced in the state of Kansas – and the BPU is proud to be playing a key part in this state-wide success story,” Gray said.

For an earlier story on this topic, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/new-project-part-of-wind-energy-boom-in-kansas/

Power outage reported

A power outage affecting more than 1,000 people was reported on Monday in Kansas City, Kan.

A Board of Public Utilities outage map around 1:30 p.m. showed about 1,200 customers were without power. Many of the places without power were near State Avenue near 78th Street, according to the BPU power outage map. The problem was with a transformer that went out.

As of 1:50 p.m., the power had been restored to the customers, according to the power outage map.