By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Midwest Energy to offer solar panels for sale to individuals and businesses
ell kl midwest energy
Panels are for sale for Kansas first utility-scale community solar farm, which at 1 megawatt will also be Kansas largest solar array, from Midwest Energy for electrical customers. This is a photo of a 1 MW community solar array in Paradox Valley, Colo., owned by San Miguel Power Authority.

HAYS —The purchase of green energy will soon be possible for Midwest Energy electrical customers. Solar panels will be for sale by Midwest Energy and Clean Energy Collective in a cooperative solar farm at a location that is yet undetermined.
“We’re excited to be the first utility in Kansas to offer community-owned solar to our members,” said John Blackwell, chair of Midwest Energy’s Board of Directors.  “Our customers have signaled they’re supportive of renewable energy, and we’re pleased to bring this solar ownership opportunity to them.”   
CEC’s community solar model employs economies of scale to build optimally-sited, fully-maintained solar projects. A customer can bypass the research, construction, and ongoing maintenance and repair required of a home system.
Energy credits move with each owner, as long as they stay within the utility territory, and customers have the ability to resell their panels at any time.
The 4,000-panel solar garden will be located within the Midwest Energy service territory, making renewable energy ownership available to all of Midwest Energy’s 50,000 electric members. The purchase price for panels in the array will include all available rebates and tax incentives, as if the system were located on the customer’s roof.  Customers will receive credit for the power their panels produce directly on Midwest Energy electric bills.
There are about 2,800 Midwest Energy electrical customers in rural Barton County who are free to purchase a panel. The panel life expectancy is 50 years, according to CEC spokesperson Tim Braun.
Users can purchase as many panels as needed, up to 100 percent of electrical usage. Peak panel capacity generation is 250 watts to 300 watts. Panel owners can expect to save $45-$50 per year per panel or 6-7 percent.
Renewable energy is playing an increasing role in economic development for Kansas, credited with helping generate jobs, reducing electricity bills, and pumping millions of dollars into local economies. Innovations like community-owned solar are showing that this burgeoning industry is poised for growth in the state.
“This is a win-win-win solution that provides tangible benefits for everyone - ease of implementation for the cooperative, cost-effective solar ownership options for our members, and impressive environmental contributions,” said Earnie Lehman, Midwest Energy’s general manager.  
CEC established the first community-owned solar garden in the country in 2010 near El Jebel, Colorado. Since that time, CEC has built or has under development over 40 community solar projects with 18 utility partners across seven states, representing 26 MW of community solar capacity.
“We’re taking reservations now,” said Mike Morely, Midwest Corporate Communications manager. He anticipates the panels will cost $815-$925 each.