LG&E, Kentucky Utilities get go-ahead for solar project - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LG&E, Kentucky Utilities get go-ahead for solar project

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky utility regulators have signed off on LG&E and Kentucky Utilities' planned solar-panel field in Harrodsburg, Ky., the first such project by the two energy companies.

The state's Public Service Commission approved the application for the 10-megawatt photovoltaic, $36 million facility at a KU generating station in central Kentucky last Friday, saying in its order that the venture fills a need and won't result in “wasteful duplication” of the companies' facilities.

The PSC also agreed with LG&E and KU, which argued that the solar field will allow the companies to gain experience operating a renewable energy project in light of a federal push to cut carbon emissions from power plants, and ruled that the Mercer County site is appropriate for the project.

Executives from the two utilities testified before the PSC in Frankfort last month. They acknowledged that the project would meet less than 1 percent of customers' needs but said the proposal is prudent; won't lead to significant operating costs; and will move trapped sunlight directly into the utilities' system.

A tax credit would be applied to 30 percent – or about $11 million – of the overall cost, leaving ratepayers to cover approximately $25 million.

The project is expected to be operational by mid-2016. KU would retain 61 percent ownership, while LG&E would own 39 percent.

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