Bates County, MO, town drawing energy using solar power - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Bates County, MO, town drawing energy using solar power

BUTLER, MO (KCTV) -

In the years following the Civil War, settlers in Butler, MO, built the first public power plant west of the Mississippi, earning the town the nickname "The Electric City."

Now the town is living up to that legacy with another energy milestone - an 11,000 panel solar farm that generates 10 percent of the town's power.

The farm is the first utility-grade solar facility in the state, something that makes residents like Peggy Buhr proud.

"People don't often think of Bates County as being cutting edge," Buhr said. "But we are."

Buhr manages the Bates County History Museum and often tells visitors anecdotes of Butler's early years. She said when the town first installed a public grid, it became a tourist destination for surrounding towns, even Kansas City, because of the evening glow of the electric lights.

Now she hopes drivers along Interstate 49 experience the same feeling of awe when they see the solar panels.

"I think people are becoming more and more receptive of incorporating solar into their plans," Buhr said.

The facility is owned by MC Power Companies, a company that builds and installs commercial solar panels. Joel Gray, a vice president with the company, said the Butler project was the organization's largest so far.

"The utilities win by not having to invest in costly infrastructure," Gray explained. "The city of Butler gets the power it needs at a predictable cost."

Predictability has become an issue with Butler's power supply in recent years. The city's power plant can no longer meet the growing energy demands of the town. It runs on fossil fuels, which are becoming increasingly scarce. For that reason, according to Gray, the town needed supplemental power.

"In certain situations like this one, it makes complete sense," he said. "The cost of power has to be high enough to warrant new energy systems."

It began operating in early March and is already producing 80 percent of its possible output. Gray said Missouri weather can actually be very conducive to solar power since cool temperatures help the panels work more efficiently.

"It's not always related to a place you'd think of as a sunshine place," he explained. "But we can produce a lot of great energy right here in the Midwest."

Gray said rural areas like Butler hold massive potential for energy. He said he hopes the project will help other towns and power companies to realize the value of the sun's power.

"Technology will continue to advance and make solar power more and more applicable in different situations," he said.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Jury recommends $25M in Johnson & Johnson lawsuit

    Jury recommends $25M in Johnson & Johnson lawsuit

    Thursday, May 24 2018 4:42 PM EDT2018-05-24 20:42:21 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 5:03 AM EDT2018-05-25 09:03:48 GMT
    Johnson & Johnson said it's disappointed in the decision and will appeal. (Source: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)Johnson & Johnson said it's disappointed in the decision and will appeal. (Source: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

    A Southern California jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $25 million to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that she developed cancer by using the company's talc-based baby powder.

    More >>

    A Southern California jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $25 million to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that she developed cancer by using the company's talc-based baby powder.

    More >>
  • FDA warns teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves

    FDA warns teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 9:43 AM EDT2018-05-23 13:43:09 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 5:03 AM EDT2018-05-25 09:03:43 GMT
    The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger. (Source: FDA)The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger. (Source: FDA)

    The US Food and Drug Administration health is warning parents about the risks of teething remedies.

    More >>

    The US Food and Drug Administration health is warning parents about the risks of teething remedies.

    More >>
  • Officials: Weinstein to surrender in sexual misconduct probe

    Officials: Weinstein to surrender in sexual misconduct probe

    Friday, May 25 2018 12:22 AM EDT2018-05-25 04:22:30 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 5:03 AM EDT2018-05-25 09:03:17 GMT
    (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2017, file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes afterparty in Beverly Hills, Calif. Law enforcement officials say Weinstein is expected to...(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2017, file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes afterparty in Beverly Hills, Calif. Law enforcement officials say Weinstein is expected to...

    Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself in to police in New York City early Friday following a seven-month investigation into sexual assault allegations.

    More >>

    Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself in to police in New York City early Friday following a seven-month investigation into sexual assault allegations.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly