PPL (NYSE:PPL) subsidiaries Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) have dedicated a 10-MW solar project that is being developed at the E.W. Brown Generation Station in Mercer County, Kentucky.
Utility officials were joined April 19 by Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles G. Snavely and local political leaders at the E.W. Brown station to celebrate the unveiling of Kentucky’s largest solar facility, expected to be fully operational by June.
The new 10-MW facility, approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission in December 2014, stretches across 50 acres of the plant’s property which also includes coal, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. It will consist of more than 44,000 solar panels on fixed-tilt rack systems that will be positioned to optimize the available sunlight for producing energy.
The Atlanta-based division of Amec Foster Wheeler, a multi-national consultancy, engineering and project management company and industry leader in universal solar, is completing its construction of the facility, which will require a peak of about 200 full-time construction workers. The final cost to construct is now expected to be less than the original $36m estimate.
“Today marks another step in the evolution of LG&E and KU,” said Paul W. Thompson, chief operating officer for LG&E and KU. “We’re embarking on a new era and introducing a new source of energy to our generation portfolio that will work in concert with our coal, natural gas and hydroelectric fleet.”
The new solar facility is part of LG&E and KU’s continuous efforts to meet customers’ energy needs while evaluating new potential energy options. The facility will allow the utilities an opportunity to learn more about this technology, including how commercial-scale solar energy is impacted by factors such as cloud cover and how it integrates with the existing generating units.