Renewable energy around the country is making headlines on a weekly basis. Kansas City solar and renewable energy is no exception. As the need to switch away from fossil fuels becomes more apparent, both individuals and governments are doing their part.
Recently there was the completion of the feasibility study for a solar array near Kansas City International Airport. We figured we should take a look at this as well as a few other items that have made headlines recently around solar energy and other renewable energy sources here in Kansas City.
Solar Array Project at Kansas City International Airport
This past Tuesday the Kansas City Aviation Department completed a solar siting and feasibility study to create a solar array to the west of the Kansas City International Airport. They determined that over 3100 acres of vacant land are suitable for the installation. Depending on the system implemented, they estimate there could be around 588 MHw/acre of solar energy production.
In order to be able to move quickly, the land will be broken into four different sections. Each will roll out in different phases of the project. The first phase would be on the largest plot of land, totaling 136 acres producing 35 MW of energy.
This would make it the largest municipal solar array in the country. Currently that record is held by the solar array at Denver International Airport sitting on 116 acres and producing 26 MW. Once Phase One is done, already breaking the record, there will still be three more phases to go.
The next steps include issuing RFP/Q seeking a private partner to build the solar array. The aim is to begin construction for Phase One within the next 12-18 months.
Johnson County Solar Power Facilities Approval
Johnson County’s county planning commission has made two sets of recommendations for utility-scale solar facilities being built within county lines. The initial recommendations sent over in April to the Johnson Country Board of County Commissioners was less strict than the newer recommendations submitted in May.
The regulations passed 6 in favor to 1 against for the less strict April recommendations. This includes a 2000 acre maximum for facilities instead of the newly proposed 1000 acre maximum. It also includes a longer term for the conditional use permits as well as building permits 1.5 miles from a city border instead of the newly suggested 2 mile minimum.
While there were mixed public opinions, they were not over whether moving to allow solar development was a good idea. Rather the largest concerns of losing the rural character of the land. However, each new solar project would still have to go to the zoning board to be individually reviewed and voted upon. This means those concerns can still be heard at later dates when real project proposals come forward.
Evergy’s Renewable Energy Milestones
While there has been some debate about the benefits of Evergy’s Solar Program, there is no doubt that Evergy has been working to reduce their carbon footprint. Reporting in their Sustainability Report, they noted almost half of the electricity produced in 2021 came from carbon-free sources of energy.
With almost 20 windfarms, they recently announced it had 90 Million MW of wind energy production. This enabled them to hit their goal of reducing carbon emissions by 51%. They are well on their way towards a 70% reduction by 2030. Their ultimate goal is to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2045.
In addition to their windfarms, in March of 2022 they completed a 40 acre, nearly 11 MW solar production facility. They have plans to break ground on a 10 MW facility in mid-2022.
Kansas City Building and Rehabilitation Codes
Kansas City’s City Council has implemented new building codes in the past. These building codes updating the minimum requirements for new construction to be in line with nationally recognized model codes. Last passed in 2020, the city follows regulations from the 2018 codes.
These codes were recently updated in 2021, and the City Council is once again set to vote on updating the building codes. These new codes would make the building codes more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. From interviews it appears many Council Members are proponents of passing the new regulations.
Kansas City began development of its Climate Protection Plan in 2006, and upgraded it in May of 2020. It has goals to reduce city-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and to ultimately be climate neutral by 2040. Kansas City has shown its commitment to reducing the overall carbon footprint in the past. Passing these updated building codes would indicate city official’s commitment to obtaining these goals within the current timeframe.
Start Your Switch To Solar Today
If you are looking for the best solar company in Kansas City, look no further than KC Solar. They are your local Kansas City solar panel installation experts. Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business.
KC Solar is the only local solar company in Kansas City with KC natives who own and operate the daily activities of the business. What does that mean for you? We care about you because we care about this city, and we only want the best for it.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.
We look forward to serving you!