Kansas City Power & Light wants to build its first commercial-scale solar generating project near Greenwood south of Kansas City.
The plant, if approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission, is expected to generate 4,700 megawatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to serve 440 homes. The cost of the project was not made public, but the utility said it hoped to complete the plant in April if everything went smoothly.
“This is a relatively small, straightforward project,” said Chuck Caisley, KCP&L’s vice president for marketing and public affairs. “We think the time for solar has come. This will be an emissions free, fuel cost free installation.”
KCP&L owns the land, about 12 acres, as part of its Greenwood Energy Center. KCP&L has three generating turbines there powered by natural gas, so it also has employees, transmission lines and other infrastructure on site.
“All that will help us hold down costs,” Caisley said, “and give some of our staff experience operating solar equipement. There were a lot of good reasons to put this project there.”
He also said KCP&L was excited to have a chance to work with Sungevity, the solar company whose bid won the contract to design and build the installation. Sungevity is based in California but in April opened an office in downtown Kansas City, where it has about 200 employees.
A Sungevity spokesman said his company also was eager to work with KCP&L on what will be its first big contract in the Kansas City area.
The solar plant will be operated by KCP&L’s Greater Missouri Operations Co., which serves 315,000 customers in the area that parent company Great Plains Energy acquired when it bought the Aquila utility’s electricity operations. Great Plains has two other KCP&L entities, one that serves 270,000 customers mainly in the city of Kansas City, Mo., and another that serves the utility’s 250,000 Kansas customers.