The Wabash Valley Power Alliance (WVPA) is now providing more locally generated energy to its member co-ops as a result of the newly activated 99-megawatt Prairie State solar array located in Perry County, Illinois.
This project is one of two Illinois-based solar arrays built by Ranger Power from which WVPA will purchase energy to collectively power nearly 30,000 homes. The second solar project, located in Fayette County, Ill., is projected to be live this month. The Prairie State solar array is the latest effort by WVPA and its co-op members to achieve ambitious decarbonization goals, notably to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon energy by 2031 and 100% decarbonization by 2050.
The Prairie State solar array began commercial operations on July 19, 2021 and is expected to generate up to 230,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) each year. This renewable energy output will save 78,750 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being expended by nonrenewable energy sources per year – the equivalent of removing 17,100 gas-powered cars from area roads.
“This project is another milestone in WVPA’s decarbonization trajectory,” said Jay Bartlett, CEO of Wabash Valley Power Alliance. “We’re committed to providing sustainable, affordable and reliable energy to all of our 23 member co-ops today and into the future. Our evolving energy portfolio, which will increasingly feature more renewable energy sources, will responsibly phase out greenhouse gases, ensuring we’re able to deliver consistent and affordable energy for our local communities while benefitting the environment. We’re excited to continue executing on this commitment into the future.”
The new solar energy adds to WVPA’s increasingly diverse energy portfolio, which includes natural gas, landfill gas, nuclear power, coal, wind and even manure from cattle farms in northern Indiana, as among resources generating the energy for more than 310,000 families, farms and organizations in the Midwest.*
The new arrays were part of a more than $100 million in new investments in Illinois by solar energy developer Ranger Power, who will sell the energy output of Prairie State Solar to WVPA, that will generate millions in tax revenue without requiring additional public infrastructure or services. Additionally, the Prairie State solar project will provide $45 million in lifetime payments to local communities.
*Wabash Valley Power supports renewable energy by owning landfill gas and solar generation and purchasing the output from wind and solar facilities. Wabash Valley Power sells, separately, the environmental attributes associated with this generation to third parties, and therefore does not claim the generation as renewable within our own supply portfolio.