Yesterday’s Richmond Register has a cover story on Berea Municipal Utilities’ plans to build a solar energy farm in Madison County, Kentucky. We think this project is a great example the ways towns in Appalachia can make a transition to a more just, sustainable and prosperous future. The farm could generate 10 kilowatts a month and help supply electricity for the utility’s office building. BMU customers will have an opportunity to lease one or more of the solar panels for a few hundred dollars for a lifetime lease. The value of the power they generate will be credited to the customer’s electric bill.
A previous post covered the benefits of solar farming and its job-creation potential, specifically regarding the Turning Point Solar project, a 500-acre, 50-megawatt solar project to be built on a former strip mine site in Ohio that is projected to generate between 600 and 700 jobs.
BMU’s purchase of the solar panels and efficient T-12 lights for use in city buildings were supported by a $125,000 Energy Efficiency Community Development Block Grant. The article reports that the city also has applied for, and likely will receive, a $19,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to create a database and fund a study of how to further reduce city government’s energy costs.