SILVER LAKE (KSNT) — Shawnee County is just a few months away from gaining its newest solar energy farm.
Evergy and Free State Electric Cooperative have partnered up to bring another energy source to serve part of Shawnee County. Evergy said there will be thousands of panels at the plant once the project is completed. However, the plant is located right behind a neighborhood.
Bow Stanley, who has lived in Silver Lake for over 20 years, is not very worried about the panels being built just two doors down from his home. He’s mostly looking forward to the impact they’ll have once the plant is up and running.
“It’s progress,” Stanley said. “I think they’re trying to do something to make sure we’ve got enough power year-round — even in the wintertime. So yeah, I’m okay with it.”
Evergy said long summer days and lots of sun are ideal for drawing in maximum amounts of solar energy, but the panels are able to generate just as much power during the winter months too.
“As we get closer to the winter, we don’t have as many daylight hours, but we could have just as much sun,” said Brandon Sack, Evergy Clean Energy Development. “It’s just that it’s less amount of that much sun, right. Even on a winter day, we can get 100% production, it’s just not going to be for as many hours.”
Free State Electric says this constant power supply will benefit a few hundred homes in the area every year. Chris Parr, Free State Electric’s CEO, said the point of using solar power is to making things more cost effective — both for energy suppliers and consumers.
“In an environment right now where we’re trying to keep rates as affordable as possible,” Parr said. “These types of measures, these projects that we can benefit locally in Shawnee County will serve our members. You’re looking between probably 10 and 12 dollars a year of savings, but again, that’s going to be well over 30 years of savings.”
Free State and Evergy said the Silver Lake farm is a smaller-scale project, but that it’ll serve the community for roughly 35 years. In that time span, the panels are expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in wholesale energy purchases. Free State says using resources, like the sun, is an effective way to reduce both demand and costs.
The Silver Lake site is expected to be completed around Thanksgiving. In the meantime, Evergy and Free State Electric are working to get another farm site approved in Osage County.