The power pool that supplies electricity for Rolla Municipal Utilities (RMU) will soon add solar energy to its sources of power generation.
After nearly two years of planning and design, construction on the Butler Solar Energy Farm began with a groundbreaking Tuesday.
With a capacity larger than three megawatts, the Butler, Mo., facility will be the largest solar power plant in Missouri and is the first utility scale solar generating project in the state. Like RMU, Butler is a member of the Missouri Public Energy Pool, known as MoPEP.
Full operation of the facility should begin before the end of 2013. Electricity generated will benefit not only the citizens and businesses of Butler but all members of the pool.
“This was a cooperative project made possible through the partnership of cities and municipal utilities across the state,” said RMU General Manager Rodney Bourne. “The Butler Solar Energy Farm is just one more addition to our growing alternative energy portfolio.”
In addition to Midwest power plants fired by coal and natural gas, cities in the MoPEP partnership draw power from diverse sources, including a landfill gas plant, federal hydro-power, a wind farm and two EPA award-winning combined heat and power facilities.
MoPEP’s group of municipal electric utilities purchase power collectively through their participation in the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC), a non-profit commission established more than 30 years ago. The MoPEP group began operations in 2000 and has grown from 19 municipalities to 35 since that time.
Rolla and St. James along with Waynesville and several other cities in Missouri belong to MoPEP.