IPL considers expanding community solar

Independence Power and Light is considering adding another 4 MW community solar farm to meet strong community demand for renewable energy from the sun.

The initial 3.2 MW community solar farm, which went online in March 2017, is 100% subscribed and a waiting list of residential and business customers interested if additional solar capacity is added, according to IPL director Leon Daggett.

MCPower built the Independence community solar farm and sells the power to IPL. The Lee's Summit-based company has constructed other 3.2 MW Missourisolar farms in Butler, Macon, Trenton, Waynesville, Marshall and Rolla.

The largest Missouri community solar farm is 7.9 MW project in Nixa.

Discussion of community solar starts at 23:30

The Independence community solar farm is located on Bundschu Road opposite Indian Trails Elementary School. There is room on the current site for expansion.

The possibility of expandingcommunity solar was discussed at a May 22nd City Council study session.

City Council members encouraged expanding community solar generation and spoke favorably about the initial project. IPL has the option, at a later date, to purchase the community solar farm from the commercial developer.

The discussion explored whether MCPower would expand at the existing site, whether IPL might seek other solar developers for the current site and even whether a second location might be explored.

Current community solar customers pay slightly more for their power and can subscribe up to 40% of their monthly usage, but they also lock-in rates for a 25-year period.

A recent survey analyzed renewable energy generated from either solar and wind by municipal utilities.

IPL generates 13.5% of its energy from renewable sources (170 MW of wind and 3.2 MW solar) while Springfield generates 36% (250 MW wind 5 MW solar).

Total Missouri municipal wind and solar power is 507 MW.