City of Henderson goes green and proposes solar farm

Local News

HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — Over a dozen solar panel companies are looking to provide Henderson with renewable energy and they might be looking to set up shop right in your backyard.

The City of Henderson is continuing to discuss using more renewable energy.

“Henderson Municipal Power and Light has been around for about 120 years. For most of that time we’ve had our own power generation and for most of the time it’s been coal, but recently we shut down our coal plant,” said HMP&L CEO Chris Heimgartner.

The idea is to lease 175 acres of land within or near the city limits to build a solar panel farm.

“Think about power like you think about anything else. If you’re going to buy something, it costs more if it comes from China than if it comes from Evansville because the shipping costs are higher. It’s the same with power. The further away you are, the more it costs to ship it across to other people’s transmission lines,” said Heimgartner.

“A lot of farmers right outside the City of Henderson have sections of land that are more than 150 acres,” said Katie Gorman, iD8 Energy.

iD8 Energy is just one of over twenty renewable energy companies city officials say are looking to purchase land for the solar project.

“There is no cost to the farmer at all. The only thing that they are doing is leasing out the land for us to put the solar panels on and who will maintain and own that will be the City of Henderson and the developer who helped them with the project,” said Gorman.

Officials say right now the city is purchasing their energy off the grid which costs more money than if it were locally sourced. However, even after the solar panels are operational, consumers won’t be paying any less.

“No it wouldn’t decrease, this is a part of the power supply, not even the biggest part; it helps us keep a cap on costs. Actually when we looked at it, we’re expecting a small rate increase in about a year to a year and a half,” said Heimgartner.

Officials say the plan calls for a minimum of 50 megawatts of power which is enough to power over 8,000 homes. Those who are interested in leasing their land for the solar project for a minimum of 20 years should contact the City of Henderson by September 28th. 

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(This story was originally published on September 13, 2019)

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