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Evergy nearing solar subscription program goal

  

As more utility companies emphasize renewable resources, Evergy is offering its customers a solar subscription program to offset their energy output. 

Through Evergy’s Solar Subscription program, Missouri customers can sign up to offset up to 50 percent of the energy use of their homes or businesses with clean energy from a solar array. Clean energy paid for through monthly subscription fees to the company’s solar shares goes into the overall power supply along with traditionally-generated energy, offsetting the amount of conventional power used by a customer’s home or business. 

Subscriptions typically cost between $5-15 per month depending on a customer’s average energy use. 

Evergy touts the program as a way for customers to take part in solar energy without having to invest in panels or equipment for their own homes. 

Evergy is waiting for more buy-in before constructing the generation site: The company set a 5-megawatt threshold before building a solar array of the same capacity. More than 680 Missouri and 511 Kansas customers are in the program thus far. The participants have subscribed to more than 9,600 of the 10,000 total shares and make up about 4.8 megawatts, just short of the construction threshold. 

Clean energy group Renew Missouri is encouraging more customers to buy into the program and push the number up to get the array constructed. 

“It’s getting very close, and we’re very excited,” Renew Missouri Executive Director James Owen told The Missouri Times. “We’re trying to encourage a few more people to participate and get it over the line because right now, all those people who have signed up who want solar and are willing to pay a premium for it, aren’t getting this yet.”

Subscribers can lock in their price for up to 20 years while participating in a solar program even if they don’t have available roof space for panels. 

The program was approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in 2018. Evergy hopes to expand its overall solar output by 700 megawatts over the next three years, according to a sustainability report filed last year.  

Owen said Evergy’s ambitious goals and customers’ willingness to pay a premium for solar power were good indicators the program would thrive and expressed hope the utility would consider expanding beyond its initial goals. 

“Obviously the utilities are moving in a very good direction toward all of their power coming from renewables or as much of it as possible, and we think that’s great. We also think this is a good option,” Owen said. “You should look into solar panels if you own your house, but if you don’t have that option, this is a good alternative.”

Evergy spokesman Andrew Baker said the company was considering locations for a generation site and examining transmission, engineering, and distribution availability. 

Evergy isn’t the only Missouri utility provider to offer a solar subscription program: Ameren Missouri has a similar program allowing customers to subscribe to a community solar site near St. Louis, with more arrays planned as the program gains popularity. Other utilities, including Liberty, are considering similar measures. 

The program is part of Evergy’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions and the retirement of fossil-fueled generation by 2045, a standard several utility companies are striving for. The company is also seeking to purchase additional wind generation resources to put in service by 2026. 

Evergy Senior Director of Government Affairs and Economic Development Jason Klindt recently told The Missouri Times 50 percent of Evergy’s delivered energy is already carbon-free and comes from renewable and nuclear generation.