HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Hutchinson company says it is installing what it believes is the largest private solar project in the state, with a goal of eventually providing all the building’s energy through solar power.
The installation of the 200-kilowatt system on the roof of BOLD LLC’s building began this week. The system will supply an estimated 80 percent of the electricity consumed by the 110,000 square feet of office space and warehouse. The system will generate electricity equal to that required in 25 average homes, The Hutchinson News reported (http://bit.ly/1nzk1aK ).
The project is part of a larger effort to increase energy efficiency, including installing motion-activated and more efficient LED lighting, company president Bob Peel said.
The array will include 768 260-watt solar panels on the warehouse roof, said Mark Merena, supervisor on the project with Good Energy Solutions.
The installation should be completed by June 15, said David Thiel, office manager at Good Energy Solutions.
“Economically it made sense, and environmentally,” Peel said of the $570,000 investment. “It’s a better work environment, and it’s a small way for us to give back to the planet.”
The solar panels should be able to withstand hailstorms as they are warranted to sustain being struck by a 1-inch steel ball at 100 feet, said Peel.
The installation will qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit.
“Solar panel technology costs have come down significantly and utility rates are still climbing,” Thiel said. “So the outlook for solar is just getting better and better. It’s becoming more and more competitive with coal and any other electrical generating source.”
A 510 kW project at Fort Riley is apparently the largest in the state, although Midwest Energy, based in Hays, has signed an agreement with Clean Energy Collective of Colorado to build a 1-megawatt “solar garden,” with customers buying individual panels, The News reported.
Before BOLD’s project, the largest private array in the state was a 118 kW rooftop installation at Peeper Ranch in Lenexa.
Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com