Community solar project coming to coal country


EV drivers in Kentucky source 71.8% of their electricity from burning coal and 21% from natural gas, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center of the Department of Energy. That is soon to change for one electric cooperative located 60 miles east of Louisville, Ky. that procured solar for its 21,000 customers.

The Frankfort Plant Board (FPB) in western Kentucky, an electric company formed in 1943, has deployed six Level 2 ChargePoint EV charging sites in recent years and has provided LED lighting solutions to residents.

Starting on May 1, the electric cooperative began construction of a community solar project f0r use by local residents, small businesses and municipal entities. To that end, FPB retained the services of Solar Energy Solutions, a residential and commercial solar and EV charging station installer in Illinois and Kentucky, to install a 187 kW community solar garden for the city’s inhabitants.

The project will provide 235,000 kWh per year of clean energy to the city, enough power to offset the electric usage of 890 homes per year. Over a 30-year energy output warranty with the installer, the community project will avoid 4,595 metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering the environment.

Solar Energy Solutions provided design work and will complete site work for future phases to be added to FPB’s ground-mounted solar site, including vegetation clearing and fencing.  According to the developer’s website, the company has installed modules of Qcells, SunPower, Longi, Panasonic, Boviet and Silfab Solar for years.

FPB is pursuing this multi-phase solar PV project to offer customers an alternative to rooftop solar installation and reduce costs and barriers to entry for solar ownership. The system will also include low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers to access clean energy as well.

The project contributes to the community and FPB’s progress towards sustaining renewable energy goals and supporting local solar businesses, creating clean energy jobs and workforce.

“The Frankfort Plant Board is working to make renewable energy options more accessible to all of our customers through numerous efforts,” said Gary Zheng, general manager of FPB. “From our net metering policy and value of solar tariff to offering renewable energy credits and investing in a large-scale solar facility in Lyon County, (this) local community solar project with Solar Energy Solutions is special because it is tangible to our customers. They can see it right here in our community and can choose to be a part of it.”

Ashwood Solar I, an 86 MW utility solar facility developed by RWE Renewables America and the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency, had entered commercial operations in December 2022 on 800 acres in western Kentucky.

Formed in 2006, Solar Energy Solutions is a solar design, engineering and construction company that has deployed more than 2,500 PV and battery systems in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, and serves the residential, commercial, industrial, utility and agriculture markets.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: