Bluestem Electric Cooperative dedicated two solar farms, a 1 megawatt (MW) facility near St. George and a 750 kilowatt (kW) facility near Leonardville, on April 25 with the flip of a switch. These solar farms are designed to mitigate the cooperative’s peak demand and harvest cost-effective natural resources.
Originally announced in October 2021, Bluestem’s two solar farms were linked to the grid by Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) of North Little Rock, Arkansas, in conjunction with a Bluestem Electric Board of Trustees meeting. Alongside 11 partnering Kansas electric cooperatives, Bluestem joined the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program, a TPI solar power services agreement program that ensures low-cost renewable energy.
Bluestem’s solar farms provide greater control over monitoring, load-balancing, and rate stabilization for its members. Along with other participating Kansas electric cooperatives, Bluestem negotiated competitive long-term pricing for the 25-year-or-more term.
“Working with Bluestem Electric on this project is an excellent way for us to assist the cooperative in improving the quality of life for their members by providing reliable, sustainable energy sources,” said TPI President Derek Dyson.
“This is exciting for Bluestem and important to our members,” said Bluestem General Manager Michael Morton.
“Like those we serve, Bluestem wants to be good stewards of our resources. These solar projects will help us provide affordable power for our members. It is important to note that every kilowatt- hour produced will be used by the members of Bluestem. Our members work hard for their money and deserve the financial security these solar projects will provide. Bluestem is here not just to sell electricity, but to promote and enhance the quality of life here in rural Kansas.”
TPI was chosen by the 12 Kansas cooperatives in 2020 to provide solar-produced power for cooperative use. Work on Bluestem’s two solar farms began in late 2021 and was completed in June 2022, after all regulatory and engineering approvals were issued. For the length of the 25-year-or-more agreement, the cooperative will purchase electricity generated by the solar farms at a fixed, low cost. TPI owns and operates 100% of the solar array.