Westar Energy's First Community Solar Plant Opens in South Hutchinson

A sunny day in July provided the perfect backdrop for the ribbon cutting at the Westar Energy Community Solar Sponsored by Hormel® Natural Choice®.   The event was well attended by state and local leaders, Westar leaders and leadership from Dold Foods and Chicago-based SoCor Energy which developed and will own and operate the facility. The 1.2 megawatt installation comprises nearly 4,000 panels and gives customers the choice to receive some of their electricity from solar without installing private generation.  While the project provides clear benefits to the South Hutchinson/Hutchinson communities, it has regional implications as well.  About 20 percent of the solar energy from this facility is being used at Dold Foods in Wichita, Kansas where Hormel® Natural Choice® bacon products are prepared and packaged.  In addressing the crowd at the event, Joe Peine, plant manager, Dold Foods, said, “We are proud to support the generation of clean, renewable energy through community solar.  Community solar is beneficial to the air quality of our communities, helps to create jobs and provides for the local economy.”  Additional energy from the community solar plant is available by subscription to Westar Energy customers.  Westar Energy senior vice president, strategy, recognized the partners in the project and said “Working together we can expand renewable energy in Kansas efficiently and affordably”.  South Hutchinson City Administrator Matt Stiles welcomed the venture adding “The City of South Hutchinson is happy to welcome the Westar Energy Community Solar Plant.  This project fits well with the progressive vision of the community and promotes good stewardship of natural resources.”

 Full details and program enrollment are available at www.WestarEnergy.com/communitysolar.