NIXA, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - When Nixa residents flip on a light switch, some of the energy will come from the state’s largest solar farm. Gardner Capital and MC Power are holding a dedication ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Nixa Solar Farm Tuesday, November 14.
Nixa's Public Works Director and Interim City Administrator, Doug Colvin, explained the new solar farm will not lower the average homeowner's bill, but will instead keep those bills consistent longer. "It will help us keep rates low because there will be a savings in our transmission costs, approximately two and a half million dollars over the 25 year period," Colvin said. "As long as we can continue to make savings here and there, no matter how big they are, that just allows us to keep the rates down."
The City of Nixa has an agreement to purchase 100% of the power generated from the 72-acre facility located west of town. It will cost the city less to purchase energy from the solar farm than what they are currently paying for power from City Utilities of Springfield and the Southwestern Power Administration.
The solar farm includes 33,288 solar panels and is capable of generating up to 7.92 megawatts of AC power which will provide over 15 million kilowatt hours per year, that’s roughly 9% of Nixa’s annual energy consumption. "We'll be able to supply solar power to approximately 2,000 homes," Colvin said. The project will also reduce the city’s carbon footprint (Co2 emissions) by 10,542 metric tons per year, equivalent to burning over 11 million pounds of coal or nearly 1.2 million gallons of gasoline.
Starting on November 2, crews at the solar farm began testing the panels one group at a time. "They start bringing it online a little bit at a time, testing it to make sure everything is okay," he explained. "It just slowly builds until they get the whole facility going."
Colvin described why this solar movement was fitting for the city of Nixa. "It's good for us because we were looking for additional ways to provide renewable power," said Colvin. He also explained how there's been a growing interest for solar energy over the past several years. "I've had quite a few citizens contact me 'Hey, when are we going to do something renewable power-wise?' and this is five years ago, eight years ago."
The Nixa Solar Farm Dedication Ceremony is at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 14 at the location off of West Mt. Vernon Street in Nixa. Though it is not open to the general public, Doug Colvin called it a "dedication to the customers."
The facility is owned by Gardner Capital. MC Power of Lee’s Summit is the contractor and operator of the facility. Financing and Tax Credit Equity Investment was provided by Central Bank of the Ozarks.