Solar energy: It’s what’s on your mind

Posted on May 03 2023 in Kankakee Valley REMC
Kankakee Valley REMC CEO Scott Sears

Thank you for the many great ideas for topics for this column. I plan to cover several of the topics submitted over the next few months. The first, and probably most mentioned topic, is solar-related.

Drivers passing through Starke County likely noticed several solar projects (often referred to as solar farms) constructed in recent months, with talks of additional projects in other communities. This has been happening nationally; the national trade group Solar Energy Industries Association reported in March that several dozen solar companies announced more than 40 projects totaling more than $13 billion in investment. 

Kankakee Valley REMC members have benefited from solar energy for years. Kankakee Valley REMC purchases its electricity from Wabash Valley Power Alliance, a generation and transmission cooperative that powers 23 electric co-ops in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. WVPA has prioritized a diverse power supply for decades to help safeguard against price volatility. That has included renewables such as wind, solar and even landfill gas generating electricity. 

We are often asked if KV REMC will be purchasing some of the energy generated from the solar projects near our service territory. The answer is no. These projects have contracted with other entities to purchase the energy they will produce. However, WVPA currently purchases electricity generated by renewable energy resources, including Meadow Lake Wind Farm along Interstate 65 and large-scale solar arrays in Illinois. In addition, WVPA owns the solar array at the KV REMC office. 

KV REMC isn’t currently involved with large-scale solar projects, but we do have a solar program. Co-op Solar offers residential members of Kankakee Valley REMC and other WVPA cooperatives the option to participate in a solar energy program. WVPA continues to add resources and leverage technology to achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Also, if you are looking to install your own solar array, call us and we can guide you through the process and requirements. 

While these local renewable projects will have beneficial impacts on the future, KV REMC will continue to work with WVPA to ensure that the electricity powering your life is from diverse resources, but also remains reliable and affordable.

Please watch for more articles covering topics submitted by you, the members.