Press Release: Kansas Will Plant First Community-Owned Solar Farm
Monday, March 17, 2014
Kansas to Plant First Community-Owned Solar Farm

Midwest Energy and Clean Energy Collective bringing new approach to make locally-produced renewable energy available to its member-owners


March 17, 2014

Media Contacts
Tim Braun, b2,inc.
(970) 618-0080;

Mike Morley, Midwest Energy
(785) 639-3100


HAYS, KAN. – (Mar. 17, 2014) Customer-owned utility Midwest Energy and community solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) have signed an agreement to build a 1 megawatt community solar photovoltaic array, the largest in Kansas, with panels owned by Midwest Energy members throughout central and western Kansas.

The 4,000-panel solar garden will be located within the Midwest Energy service territory, making renewable energy ownership available to all of Midwest Energy’s 50,000 electric members. The purchase price for panels in the array will include all available rebates and tax incentives, as if the system were located on the customer’s roof.  Customers will receive credit for the power their panels produce directly on their Midwest Energy electric bills.

“We’re excited to be the first utility in Kansas to offer community-owned solar to our members,” said John Blackwell, Chair of Midwest Energy’s Board of Directors.  “Our customers have signaled they’re supportive of renewable energy, and we’re pleased to bring this solar ownership opportunity to them.”

Accessibility and Flexibility Keys to Partnership

CEC’s community solar model employs economies of scale to build optimally-sited, fully-maintained solar projects. The solar PV arrays are designed for maximum power production and maximum lifespan, delivering the lowest possible price for renewable energy. Midwest Energy members purchase the panels directly from CEC; Midwest Energy then purchases the power from CEC, while Midwest Energy provides a credit directly to the member’s bill. Customers get the benefits of solar ownership, yet bypass the research, construction, and ongoing maintenance and repair required of a rooftop system. It also provides the flexibility of having the energy credits move with each owner, as long as they stay within the utility territory, and have the ability to resell their panels at any time.

“We applaud Midwest Energy for taking a lead role in helping Kansas make great use of its natural resources to make clean power,” said CEC VP of Strategic Development, Jim Hartman. “Midwest is being very proactive in responding to high member interest in community solar and planning well for the future.”

Mutual Wins Driving Renewable Growth

Renewable energy is playing an increasing role in economic development for Kansas, credited with helping generate jobs, reducing electricity bills, and pumping millions of dollars into local economies. Innovations like community-owned solar are showing that this burgeoning industry is poised for growth in the state.

“This is a win-win-win solution that provides tangible benefits for everyone – ease of implementation for the cooperative, cost-effective solar ownership options for our members, and impressive environmental contributions,” said Earnie Lehman, Midwest Energy’s General Manager.

For more information on community solar or the Midwest Energy project, visit or contact:,, or call 800.646.0323.

About Midwest Energy

Midwest Energy, Inc., is a member-owned electric and natural gas cooperative serving 92,000 electric and natural gas customers in 41 central and western Kansas counties.  Established in 1939, Midwest Energy provides safe, reliable and efficient energy services to its members, delivering innovative, affordable and environmentally sound solutions.  True to its cooperative roots, the company also works to foster leadership and growth throughout central and western Kansas.

About Clean Energy Collective (CEC)

Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective is the nation’s leading developer of community-owned renewable energy facilities and power generation. CEC established the first community-owned solar garden in the country in 2010 near El Jebel, Colorado. Since that time, CEC has built or has under development over 40 community solar projects with 18 utility partners across 7 states, representing 26 MW of community solar capacity.


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Phone: 1-800-646-0323
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Press Release: Kansas Will Plant First Community-Owned Solar Farm