4 Rivers sun farm set to produce power next week Featured

Shortly after updating the utility's solar energy facility near Roads 270 and M during KVOE's Talk of Emporia on Monday, 4 Rivers Electric Cooperative General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Svanes gave KVOE News a tour of the plant. Shortly after updating the utility's solar energy facility near Roads 270 and M during KVOE's Talk of Emporia on Monday, 4 Rivers Electric Cooperative General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Svanes gave KVOE News a tour of the plant. Chuck Samples/KVOE News

By Monday, 4 Rivers Electric Cooperative could well be generating power out of its new solar energy facility.


The so-called "sun farm" near the utility's Americus substation at Roads 270 and M, nine miles north of Emporia, is in the finishing stages now. General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Svanes joined KVOE's Talk of Emporia with an update, saying this will add on to 4 Rivers' existing energy sources -- nuclear, coal, natural gas and wind. He credited Lyon County for its work to speed things along.

Three thousand five hundred solar panels have been installed, each generating 400 watts of power. The facility can push out around 1.4 megawatts of energy, but it's licensed for a megawatt -- just like a similar sun farm outside Fredonia. Work began in January, and despite a fair amount of rain so far this calendar year, the project is finishing slightly ahead of schedule.

The sun farm will benefit from a change in federal regulations that will let 4 Rivers store batteries during off-peak times and then discharge them during peak demand.

4 Rivers and other electric cooperatives are partnering with Today's Power out of Arkansas to produce 20 megawatts of energy. Since the project was announced in November, Svanes has touted the sun farm as a cost-saver for the utility and its customers. He repeated that statement on KVOE's airwaves Monday.

Locally, this follows the construction of Southern Power's Reading Wind Facility last year and Evergy's Emporia Energy Center peak usage plant in 2008.

4 Rivers will have a "Flip the Switch" event June 21 on Facebook Live for the official start.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 04 May 2021 10:50