Case Study: West Plains Solar

Evergy is committed to being 100% carbon neutral by 2045 and providing our customers with cost-effective, reliable, renewable energy solutions to build a more sustainable future.

The Evergy Energy Partners division has decades of experience developing diverse energy solutions with substantial long-term power cost benefits for utility, municipal, cooperative, and industrial customers. The benefits are accomplished by combining an in-depth understanding of long- and short-term utility planning, operations management, experience with regulators along with unparalleled experience negotiating multiple types of energy procurement and sale agreement structures. In 2021, we broke ground on the first utility scale solar array in the city of West Plains to help the city advance towards their goal of becoming one of the first carbon-free cities in Missouri.

 

About West Plains, Missouri

The City of West Plains is located in Howell County, near the southern border of Missouri. With more than 12,000 residents, West Plains is committed to being forward-thinking and protecting future generations by offering renewable energy solutions for their community.

 

Our Goal: Lead Sustainable Solutions in the State of Missouri

The City of West Plains is working toward an exciting goal to become one of the first carbon-free cities in Missouri. In order to take tangible steps toward this objective, the city partnered with Evergy. We are excited to support the City of West Plains in this effort and, through this project, create clean energy solutions that have a positive impact beyond energy.

At Evergy, our goal was to help the City of West Plains become a leader in renewable energy in the state of Missouri. We wanted to develop a solution that went beyond just providing clean energy —a solution that also improved the natural environment and created educational opportunities for students in West Plains.

 

About West Plains Solar Array

Evergy and the City of West Plains broke ground on the 40-acre solar array in 2021. The array started producing energy for the city in January of 2022, generating just under 11 megawatts of energy for the City of West Plains and powering nearly 2,000 homes. The West Plains solar array, at the time of its construction, is the largest solar array on a municipality's local grid in the state of Missouri and will provide clean, affordable energy for the community for at least the next 30 years.

 

Quick Stats

  • Projected completed in January of 2022
  • 40-acre solar array
  • 26,000 solar panels to be installed
  • Will generate 10.8 MW of energy
  • Enough electricity to power 1,945 homes
  • Located off of County Road 1770

 

Project Details

Experiential Learning

Once the array is constructed, Evergy will plant pollinator-friendly ground cover and plants at the site to create an environmentally-sustainable footprint. With the construction of the solar array and the establishment of native plants and ground cover, Evergy and the City of West Plains are able to take land that was once used as the city landfill to create a renewable energy site and a healthy habitat.

Community Benefits 

Evergy and the City of West Plains are developing a plan to work with local schools and Missouri State University of West Plains to provide learning opportunities to the students during the construction of the array –and even upon completion of the project. Evergy’s vision for the site is to not only be a renewable energy source, but also a place where the community can reap the many other benefits the array can provide.

 

Project Partners

The City of West Plains City Council and Staff is working towards the city's vision of a progressive mindset of a sustainable and dependable electric system for their residents. Leaders from the City green-lit the project and helped ensure a strong partnership with Evergy to help the city work toward becoming one of the first carbon-free cities in Missouri.

Missouri State University —West Plains is a public, two-year, open admission, separately accredited campus of the Missouri State University System with approximately 1,900 students enrolled. Evergy and the City of West Plains will collaborate with the school to provide learning opportunities for students both during the construction of the array and past completion of the project.

 

Project Financing

A key part of the West Plains solar project was ensuring the most favorable outcome for the City of West Plains so it could secure affordable energy for its residents. In order to best meet this goal, Evergy and West Plains arranged a 30-year fixed Power Purchase Agreement where Evergy will own, operate and maintain the system throughout the life of the PPA, allowing West Plains to affordably purchase the amount of energy it needs. The City of West Plains will also have several options to purchase the facility outright from Evergy.

Now is the right time to invest in renewable energy for your municipality or cooperative. Learn more about Evergy Energy Partners’ renewable energy solutions.
  • Brandon Sack
  • Brandon Sack

    Brandon Sack serves as the Clean Energy Development Director at Evergy. He has been in the energy industry for over twenty-five (25) years and has gained experience through different roles in analytics, planning, energy trading and clean energy development. He was instrumental in the development and approval of Evergy Kansas’ Renewables Direct and Community Solar tariffs which both provide direct access to renewable energy to all customers. He now focuses on working with customers across the Midwest to help in their pursuit for clean, cost effective energy.

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