Platte-Clay will be the first rural electric cooperative in Missouri and among the first 100 in the U.S. to provide solar energy to its members.
Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative held a groundbreaking ceremony on January 27 for its pilot community solar system to be built west of its headquarters in Kearney, MO.
After fielding numerous calls each month regarding solar energy and three consecutive member surveys that showed that a majority who responded are interested in renewable energy in general and specifically in solar, the co-op initiated the process to build a pilot community solar system. The Board of Directors approved the project at its December, 2014, meeting.
Platte-Clay began discussions with its power provider, Springfield, Mo., based Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI) and N.W. Electric Cooperative, the co-op’s generation and transmission cooperative, located in Cameron, Mo.
“There’s going to be a learning curve with solar energy,” said Mike Torres, general manager and chief executive officer. “We’re going to learn with our membership. We’re in the process of establishing a new Solar Committee that will meet every other month to review what all is involved with rolling out solar energy to members. For instance, what is the production, and how does it vary, how much energy is the solar array producing? It’s going to be new and exciting for our members and new and exciting for the co-op.”
Members will be able to sign up to purchase the output of solar panels in June, and a live, online monitoring system on the co-op’s web site, www.pcec.coop, will show members how much energy is being produced.