Wabash Valley Power, Ranger Power boost Illinois solar energy

Illinois based Wabash Valley Power’s member co-ops will benefit from a recently completed long-term agreement to purchase the energy and capacity generated by a solar array.

Wabash Valley Power will be the sole buyer of the energy produced from the Prairie State Solar Project, a 99 MW array to be built on privately owned land in Perry County, Illinois.

New York-based Ranger Power, a utility-scale solar development company, will build the array, which will produce enough electricity to power nearly 15,000 homes. Groundbreaking is scheduled to occur in late 2019 with commercial operations beginning in 2021.

Wabash Valley Power entered into a 30-year agreement to purchase the power produced by the array, while the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the project will be sold through the Illinois Power Agency REC procurement process.

The Prairie State Solar Project will more than double the statewide solar capacity in Illinois. The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that installed solar projects statewide collectively total 81.5 MW.

Wabash Valley Power, located in Indianapolis, supplies electricity to 23 not-for-profit electric distribution cooperatives located throughout Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. Collectively, these cooperatives serve more than 311,000 homes, farms, schools and businesses. Wabash Valley electric distribution cooperative members include three Illinois cooperatives: Corn Belt Energy, MJM Electric Cooperative and EnerStar Electric Cooperative.

The new array will represent a nearly $100 million new investment in southwestern Illinois that also will contribute millions in tax revenue without requiring additional public infrastructure or services. The Prairie State Solar Project supports the objectives of the Future Energy Jobs Act, an Illinois law that went into effect last year requiring at least 4,300 MW of new solar and wind energy to be built in the state by 2030. The new solar project also supports the law’s job creation initiative by creating an estimated 200 jobs during the construction phase and 3 to 5 full-time positions once the site is operational.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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