Community solar farm coming to Boone Electric Cooperative

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COLUMBIA - For those in mid-Missouri who want to participate in renewable energy alternatives, Boone Electric Cooperative representatives said a community solar farm is coming to Columbia.

Chris Rohlfing, electric services manager, said the board of directors decided to add renewable energy services after from feedback from its members.

"Thirty percent of the members of Boone Electric Cooperative said that they were interested in Boone Electric doing something that generates power with non conventional renewable means,"  Rohlfing said. 

Members of Boone Electric will be able to purchase the output from one or more panels. The monthly output will then offset energy usage at the member's primary residence.

The cooperative plans to build a 100-kilowatt system. It will include more than 400 solar panels. The solar farm will produce more than 500 kilowatt-hours per panel per year.

Members will pay for the number of kilowatt-hours the solar panel generated for the month. Rohlfing said members who choose to get their power from the solar farm will pay about five or six cents more than regular electricity.

"Boone Electric will do everything we can to keep the prices as inexpensive as we can for those members who want to participate," Rohlfing said.

Rohlfing said the program is beneficial to Boone Electric members who wish to partake in the solar energy, but are unable to install solar panels where they live.

"That's why we're doing this," Rohlfing said. "Is to make this an opportunity for people to be part of the solar generation."

If members do not want to participate in the solar farm, they will not be paying for the project. Boone Electric will send out updates to those in the community who are interested in the solar panel project.

The solar farm will be built at the Cooperative headquarters property in Columbia. The solar farm will be completed by Spring 2016.