BPU Community Solar Farm FAQs

  • What is the BPU Community Solar Farm?
    • A newly built facility where thousands of centrally located solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are located and where customers interested in utilizing solar energy can lease panels over a period of time, making them eligible for a solar credit on their electric bill. BPU’s Community Solar Farm includes 3,780 PV panels capable of producing 1,000 KW of power. Built next to the utility’s existing Nearman Power Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, it became operational in September 2017, and is the first municipal utility solar farm in the state of Kansas.

  • How does the community solar program work?
    • Residential customers can voluntarily sign up to lease up to 10 individual PV panels over a multi-year period, at a cost of $470.00 each. They will then receive a credit for the energy output of their panel(s) every month over the 25-year life of the farm, with solar credits averaging approximately $3.20 a month, or $38.40 annually per panel. If a user moves out of the service area, they can break their lease and sell the panel(s) back to BPU. Utilizing economies of scale, the community solar farm concept spreads costs out among all those who wish to participate, providing interested parties a substantial discount over what it would cost them to build their own stand-alone system. Participants are not purchasing physical equipment, rather, subscribing to the output from the solar farm through a leased portion of the project, and earning credit against their monthly energy bill.

  • Who is eligible to participate?
    • Only residential customers are allowed to participate at this time, including homeowners, renters, etc.

  • How long will the sign-up/eligibility period last?
    • The program is currently for residential customers only. However, these customers are allowed to lease up to 10 panels each, so with only 3,780 panels total, there could be only 378 subscriptions available. Eligibility could be expanded beyond residential customers in the future, so sign up quickly.

  • How much will it cost me to participate in this voluntary solar program?
    • Panels can be leased for $470.00 each, with customers receiving a solar credit, lowering their bill every month.

  • How much energy savings will I see?
    • Participants will receive a credit for the energy output of the panel(s) they purchase, estimated to be 40 kWh per month per panel. Corresponding dollars savings or credit will vary month to month, but will average approximately $3.20 a month, or $38.40 annually per panel.

  • Do I own the panels?
    • No. The Solar Energy License Agreement is an energy lease only. However, you will receive full credit for the output of those panels over the term of the license.

  • Are there opportunities for future community solar expansion?
    • Potentially, the initial 1,000 KW solar farm is a pilot project and is intended to gauge the community’s interest. If the interest level is high enough the BPU will analyze additional solar opportunities within the community.

  • What are the benefits of community solar?
    • It allows the entire community (including homeowners, renters, etc.) access to affordable, locally produced, sustainable solar energy without the hassle or cost of installing their own individual stand-alone project or panels. Users can utilize clean energy produced by the farm, reducing their carbon footprint while receiving reduced costs on their electric bills. One PV solar panel will eliminate 12 tons of CO2, the equivalent of planting 278 trees, reducing automobile emissions by 23,500 miles, or recycling 37 tons of waste. There is no cost to other BPU ratepayers, only those who sign up for this program will benefit from it, and pay for it.

  • How will this benefit the environment?
    • Renewable energy, like solar power, is a clean, environmentally friendly alternative to coal-generated electricity. By diversifying its power generation mix to include alternative resources other than coal, BPU is reducing its overall carbon footprint and benefiting the community we live in. One PV solar panel will eliminate 12 tons of CO2, the equivalent of planting 278 trees, reducing automobile emissions by 23,500 miles, or recycling 37 tons of waste.

  • Does this affect my bill? If so, how?
    • Yes, this will affect your bill but only if you sign up to participate in the program. A Member will receive a credit for the energy output of the panel(s), estimated to be 40 kWh per month, per panel. BPU will apply a credit to your monthly bill for up to the 25-year term of the Solar Energy License Agreement (Agreement) you will be required to execute with BPU, or until such time as the Agreement is terminated, subject to the terms of the Agreement. Please contact the BPU Solar Farm at 913-573-9997 or solarpanels@bpu.com to obtain more detailed information regarding your specific situation and how this credit will affect your particular bill.

  • How much is the credit I receive each month? How much money am I going to save?
    • You will receive a credit for the energy output of the panel(s) you purchase, estimated to be 40 kWh per month, per panel. The corresponding dollar savings or credit will vary month to month but are expected to be approximately 40 kWh per month multiplied by the solar rate of $0.08 per kWh, which is approximately $3.20 per month, per panel or $38.40 annually.

  • How many kilo-watt-hours (kWh) will I be saving each month?
    • A Member will receive a credit for the energy output of the panel(s), estimated to be 484 kWh per year, per panel, or 40 kWh per month.

  • How much is this costing the utility?
    • There is no cost to other BPU ratepayers, only those who sign up for this program will benefit from it, and pay for it.

  • Can I get a rebate or tax credit for the panels I License?
    • No, you cannot obtain a rebate or tax credit for the panels you purchase because it is already included in the License price of the panels. BPU’s license price at $470 offers a substantial discount to what most customers can achieve on their own, including all state and federal tax incentives. This is due to BPU’s ability to gain exceptional pricing through utilizing economies of scale.

  • How does the community solar program work?
    • Residential customers can voluntarily sign up to lease up to 10 individual PV panels over a multi-year period, at a cost of $470.00 each. They will then receive a credit for the energy output of their panel(s) every month over the 25-year life of the farm, with solar credits averaging approximately $3.20 a month, or $38.40 annually per panel. If a user moves out of the service area, they can break their lease and sell the panel(s) back to BPU. Utilizing economies of scale, the community solar farm concept spreads costs out among all those who wish to participate, providing interested parties a substantial discount over what it would cost them to build their own stand-alone system. Participants are not purchasing physical equipment, rather, subscribing to the output from the solar farm through a leased portion of the project, and earning credit against their monthly energy bill.

  • Where is the community solar farm actually located?
    • It is located next to BPU’s existing Nearman Power Plant by the Kansas River in Kansas City, Kansas. It became operational in September 2017, and is the first municipal utility solar farm in the state of Kansas.

  • How long will the farm produce power?
    • The BPU Solar Farm is scheduled to produce power for the 25 years beginning in September 2017.

  • What is the output of each panel?
    • The output capability of each panel is 335 watts, with the solar farm consisting of 3,780 total panels for a nameplate value of approximately 1,000 kilo-watts.

  • Do I own the panels?
    • No. The Solar Energy License Agreement is an energy lease only. However, you will receive full credit for the output of those panels over the term of the license.

  • Will BPU License partial panels?
    • No. At this time, BPU cannot license partial panels.

  • Who is responsible for the maintenance, etc. of the panels?
    • BPU has contracted with a third-party vendor who specializes in the development and maintenance of solar projects.

  • What happens if I want to purchase a PV system after I License panels from the Solar Farm?
    • The purpose of BPU’s Community Solar Farm is to make solar accessible to everyone, but specifically those customers who cannot or choose not to place panels at their location. The BPU Solar Farm, however, does not exclude those members that wish to place solar panels at their meter location. It does, however, require that a member’s purchase of panel output cannot exceed 60% of their expected monthly kWh energy usage in the next 12-month period. Please contact the BPU solar desk at 913-573-9997 or solarpanels@bpu.com to get additional information.

  • Can I get a rebate or tax credit for the panels I License?
    • No, you cannot obtain a rebate or tax credit for the panels you purchase because it is already included in the License price of the panels. BPU’s license price at $470 offers a substantial discount to what most customers can achieve on their own, including all state and federal tax incentives. This is due to BPU’s ability to gain exceptional pricing through utilizing economies of scale.

  • Who is eligible to participate?
    • Only residential customers in good standing are allowed to participate at this time, including homeowners, renters, etc. Please call 913-573-9997 or email solarpanels@bpu.com for details.

  • How long will the sign up/eligibility period last?
    • The program is currently for residential customers only. However, these customers are allowed to lease up to 10 panels each, so with only 3,780 panels total, there could be only 378 subscriptions available. Eligibility could be expanded beyond residential customers in the future, so sign up quickly.

  • Can I still participate if I’m not a homeowner?
    • Yes, all residential customers (including apartment or condo renters) in good standing with BPU are eligible.

  • What happens if I move or rent my residence?
    • If a user moves out of the service area, BPU will repurchase a panel(s) from the member at that time. The utility will also repurchase any panel(s) from residential members after 12 months of participation in the program.

  • Can I purchase panels if I already have a solar system installed?
    • The purpose of BPU’s Community Solar Farm is to make solar accessible to everyone, but specifically those customers who cannot or choose not to place panels at their location. The BPU Solar Farm, however, does not exclude those members with existing systems; it does require that a member’s purchase of panel output cannot exceed 60% of their average monthly kWh energy usage in the last 12-month period. Please contact the BPU solar desk at 913-573-6838 to get additional information regarding the number of panels you are eligible for.

  • Will BPU License partial panels?
    • No. At this time, BPU cannot license partial panels.

  • What happens if I want to purchase a PV system after I License panels from the Solar Farm?
    • The purpose of BPU’s Community Solar Farm is to make solar accessible to everyone, but specifically those customers who cannot or choose not to place panels at their location. The BPU Solar Farm, however, does not exclude those members that wish to place solar panels at their meter location. It does, however, require that a member’s purchase of panel output cannot exceed 60% of their expected monthly kWh energy usage in the next 12-month period. Please contact the BPU solar desk at 913-573-9997 or solarpanels@bpu.com to get additional information.

  • Who is eligible to participate?
    • Only residential customers are allowed to participate at this time, including homeowners, renters, etc. Call the solar hotline at 913-573-9997 or email us at solarpanels@bpu.com to see if you qualify.

  • How do I sign up?
    • Simply call the BPU Community Solar Farm hotline at 913-573-9997 or enroll online by emailing us at solarpanels@bpu.com.

  • Where can I get more information about this program?
  • How long will the sign up/eligibility period last?
    • The program is currently for residential customers only. However, these customers are allowed to lease up to 10 panels each, so with only 3,780 panels total, there could be only 378 subscriptions available. Eligibility could be expanded beyond residential customers in the future, so sign up quickly.

  • Can I still participate if I’m not a homeowner?
    • Yes, all residential customers (including apartment or condo renters) in good standing with BPU are eligible.

  • What happens if I move or rent my residence?
    • If a user moves out of the service area, BPU will repurchase a panel(s) from the member at that time. The utility will also repurchase any panel(s) from residential members after 12 months of participation in the program.

  • What is the maximum number of panels I can purchase?
    • Pursuant to the BPU License Agreement, a residential customer may purchase up to 10 panels at an initial price of $470 per panel.

  • Can I purchase panels if I have a solar water heating system installed?
    • Yes. Members who have a solar water heating system installed are eligible to participate in the BPU Solar Farm.

  • Can I re-sell the panels back to BPU?
    • Yes, the terms relating to the repurchase or transfer of the solar panels will be included in the Solar Energy License Agreement (Agreement) that will need to be executed by you and BPU. The BPU asks that Members stay in the program for a minimum of 12 calendar months or until January 2019, whichever is later.

  • Will BPU License partial panels?
    • No. At this time, BPU cannot license partial panels.

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