The Public Service Commission has approved a solar power project planned by Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric in Mercer County.
A statement from the PSC says it authorized the utilities on Friday to build a 10-megawatt solar array at the E.W. Brown Generating Station, which would produce enough power to supply about 8,000 homes. It will consist of about 260 solar panels.
The statement says it is the first utility-scale solar power project in the state.
According to the PSC, the $36 million price of the solar array will be partially offset by tax credit and other factors, so it will have a "relatively minor" impact on rates.
LG&E serves 397,000 electric customers in the Louisville area and KU has 543,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties.
A partnership between the local utility and state and federal government will build Kentucky’s largest solar array at Fort Campbell. The solar array will cover about 20 acres at the army base, and will produce five megawatts of power.
Kenya Stump, Kentucky’s assistant director of the Division of Renewable Energy, said five megawatts is enough energy to power about 500 homes.
The array will sit on an abandoned landfill, Stump said.
“The landfill itself wasn’t in a position to be utilized since it was already capped and just sitting there, so they had space,” Stump said. “So the array actually fits perfectly with the abandoned landfill.”
She said it’s only one example of using brownfields sites to spur renewable energy development, which is an initiative the Environmental Protection Agency has been working on for awhile. And in Kentucky, it’s becoming more feasible.
“I think as the price of solar is dropping, I think we’re starting to see a little bit more demand from the consumers to utilize solar resources,” Stump said.
Fort Knox is unveiling the largest solar panel array on a military installation east of the Mississippi River. The new additions will complement the large solar network already operating at the post.
A ceremony Wednesday morning at the Hardin County army post will debut the array, which will be larger than any other solar panel farm in the state of Kentucky.
The new system includes 10,000 photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight into electricity. A Fort Knox spokesman says the post will be able to supplant a portion of its energy consumption with the solar panels at a cheaper rate than electricity provided by local power plants.
The new array was constructed at no cost to the government through a partnership with Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation.
At the conclusion of a 25-year contract, ownership of the array will be transferred to Ft. Knox, with all energy production available to the military post at no cost.