A coal mine in the eastern part of Kentucky that shut down in the 1990s will now be converted into the largest solar farm in the state and begin supplying power as early as 2024, New York Times reported.
As countries shift to greener measures in their attempts to rein in carbon emissions, renewable sources such as solar are one of the most preferred options. Solar power infrastructure is not only quick to install, it can also blend into common structures such as rooftops. It can also be used to repurpose old establishments such as mines and landfills that are usually not the first choice for human inhabitants.
The coal mine in Kentucky was one of the roughly 130,000 such sites that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had earmarked for renewable energy projects, Digital Journal reported. The 1200-acre site that once produced carbon-emitting coal will now be refurbished with solar panels that will generate up to 200 MW of electricity.
Construction on the site that is currently is expected to begin next year and will continue for 12-18 months. The site will connect to a 138-kilovolt substation, belonging to Kentucky Power, the developers of the site, Savion Energy said in a press release. Savion Energy oversees renewable energy projects from conception to construction and currently has 90 solar and over 40 energy storage projects under development with a combined output of 15 gigawatts, Digital Journal reported.
The project involves a $231 million investment that will also create up to 300 construction jobs that are likely to be taken up by former mines in the area bringing opportunities from a newer greener economy to coalfields, Savion said in its press release.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has also approved the solar project to gain up to $600,000 of tax incentives for the project that is expected to go online by 2024 and will power the equivalent of 33,000 homes in the state.