Evergy has announced that its Hawthorn power plant is now home to 10 megawatts (MW) of new solar energy. From the array, 5 MW will serve customers who chose to participate in Evergy’s Solar Subscription program, an additional megawatt will serve participants in an income-qualified subscription program for Missouri customers, and the remaining 4 MW will serve all Evergy Missouri customers. In the future, the 4 MW will transition to the future needs of Missouri West and Missouri Metro Solar Subscription participants to meet the demand for future customer enrollment in the program.
“Using Hawthorn’s existing land and infrastructure provided Evergy the opportunity to construct one of the most cost-effective and the largest solar subscription facilities in Missouri,” said Chuck Caisley, Evergy’s senior vice president and chief customer officer. “Customers will benefit from these savings for years to come through access to economic local renewable generation.”
The new solar array sits on 67 acres to the northwest of the Hawthorn plant in northeast Kansas City, Mo. The site includes more than 22,000 solar panels and is the largest solar subscription array in Missouri. Annually, the array will produce nearly 21,000 MWh of solar energy.
Over half of the renewable energy produced on-site is available to customers who enroll in Evergy’s Solar Subscription program, which is available to Kansas Metro, Missouri Metro, and Missouri West customers. Nearly 1,500 Evergy customers have subscribed to energy from the solar array through solar subscriptions to date.
According to the US Department of Energy, community solar is any solar project or purchasing program within a geographic area in which solar energy production benefits multiple individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations. Most of the time the energy is generated by panels at an off-site array.
Customers can buy or lease a portion of the solar panels and usually receive credits to their utility bills for electricity generated by their share of the community solar project, the Department of Energy says, similar to if they had individual rooftop panels installed. The Department of Energy says community solar is a good option for those who can’t install their own systems.
As of 2020, there were more than 1,250 community solar projects installed in the US, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. About a third of states have policies enabling community solar.