Boone Electric Cooperative offers another green energy option

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COLUMBIA - Members of Boone Electric Cooperative will soon have another green energy option from a local solar farm.

Representatives from the cooperative and its partner, Shelter Insurance, celebrated the ground-breaking for a new community solar farm on Rangeline Street on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re excited to announce this 100-kilowatt solar garden today,” said Todd Culley, CEO of Boone Electric Cooperative. “This is gonna benefit our members by offering the opportunity to purchase green energy from a local source.”

The cost of the electricity is going to be a little higher than other options, Culley said, and the cooperative leaders will work on keeping the price down.

“They've told us that they’re willing to pay a slight difference to buy the energy that’s produced from those sources,” Culley said.

The farm, made of 400 solar panels, will be capable of producing electricity to up to 500 members of the cooperative and the members can choose to participate or not, Culley said.

Even though the project is only available to its members at the moment, Culley said it’s going to have a big effect on the community in the long run.

“The impact, I believe, it’s very favorable if you look at the job creation, the new technology part of it. It’s a step forward to the even more advanced technology around horizon,” Culley said.

The cooperative currently serves more than 30,000 homes, farms and businesses in Boone County and some surrounding areas, according to its website.

The project is expected to be fully operational by summer 2016.