Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is one of nine teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory to participate in a collaborative research project exploring new ways solar energy can improve the rural electric grid. KCEC is among more than 900 electric cooperatives in the United States, covering approximately two thirds of the land mass with more than 42 million customers. Many cooperatives are evaluating the benefits and challenges of increasing renewable energy for their members.
KCEC will become part of the Solar Energy Innovation Network. "We selected teams that are experimenting with promising ideas to use solar power to improve the future of grid security and reliability in their communities," said Kristen Ardani, who leads the Solar Energy Innovation Network at NREL.
"KCEC has been working towards providing resilient, renewable energy for all our members equally since 2002," said Luis A. Reyes, head of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative.
The Solar Energy Innovation Network will provide financial, analytical, and facilitation to KCEC and the other teams as they test solar and battery storage to increase the amount of power produced from renewable sources.
KCED is installing 35 megawatts in small solar arrays around its service area by 2022, aiming to provide a third of the region's total electricity demand.