“Our effort is to benefit the schools financially and also be fair to our electric cooperative and their members, who now will be able to participate in Co-op Solar. This is an agreement that benefits multiple members, and will help us as a school district to keep our long-term energy costs stable.”
– Iran Floyd, interim superintendent of Kankakee Valley School Corp.
The Kankakee Valley School Corp., Jasper County REMC members, and local taxpayers soon will benefit from the construction of the largest solar array site in a three-state community solar program.
Later this month, construction will break ground on the Wheatfield Solar Array site, a partnership between KV schools, Jasper County REMC, and Wabash Valley Power, its electricity provider. The site will include two 1.8 megawatt (MW) arrays to generate 3.6 MW of electricity. The two arrays will be constructed on land owned by the school corporation just north of the Kankakee Valley Intermediate School in Wheatfield. The electricity generated at the site will offset up to 40 percent of the electricity used by the Kankakee Valley middle, intermediate, and high school. WVPA also will lease the property for the two solar arrays from the school corporation.
“Our effort is to benefit the schools financially and also be fair to our electric cooperative and their members, who now will be able to participate in Co-op Solar,” said Iran Floyd, interim superintendent of Kankakee Valley School Corp. “This is an agreement that benefits multiple members, and will help us as a school district to keep our long-term energy costs stable.”
The new site helps achieve the school district’s goal of having renewable energy sources to provide power for school facilities, Floyd added. The school district plans to incorporate solar energy information and data collected from the arrays into the curriculum.
The site will generate enough electricity to power more than 2,600 homes. It will be the largest site built for Co-op Solar, a community solar program with arrays in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri that provides energy to 23 Wabash Valley Power member electric cooperatives. Jasper County REMC will be the latest co-op to offer the program to its members.
“As an electric utility, we know at our members are always exploring options to lower their utility bills,” said Bryan Washburn, general manager and CEO of Jasper County REMC. “We are glad to partner with the Kankakee Valley School Corp. to benefit multiple schools in the district and, hopefully, lessen the burden on taxpayers to provide electricity to the schools.”
Jasper County REMC will start offering Co-op Solar blocks for subscription to interested members this summer. Community solar programs enable co-op members who otherwise couldn’t purchase and install arrays to benefit from solar energy. Wabash Valley Power will build and maintain the two arrays at the Wheatfield site. The school district will not need to pay anything for this project.
“This is a unique opportunity to partner with Jasper County REMC and one of their significant members on a project that brings numerous benefits,” said Jay Bartlett, CEO of Wabash Valley Power. “Building our newest and largest Co-op Solar site in partnership with Kankakee Valley School Corp. will provide invaluable educational opportunities while helping us significantly grow our community solar program. This will benefit everyone involved long into the future.”