On July 8, our new solar array was energized for the first time. So far I am very impressed with its performance. We expect the 100 KW array to provide about 25% of our office’s energy needs. Based on the solar array’s performance thus far, it appears it will exceed that for the month of July. I was also pleased to see that the array was producing during our July peak. On clear days, the array will start producing power at about sunrise; and on cloudy days we still are seeing it produce at about 30% of its rated capacity. We are continuing to monitor the performance of the solar array and are comparing its performance to several small-scale wind turbines. If you have a wind turbine, we would be happy to include you in our study. We will place a meter with memory registers, which allows us to collect hourly readings off of the output of your turbine. If you would be interested please give me a call.
Along with the addition of our solar array, Associated Electric Cooperative (AECI), our generation cooperative, recently announced that it has entered into another contract with Wind Capital Group to purchase the output of a new wind farm under construction in Oklahoma. The new contract will add an additional 150 megawatts of wind power bringing our total wind power under contract to 450 megawatts.
In addition to the announcement of the new wind farm, AECI’s second combined cycle gas plant at Choteau, Oklahoma is now operating. The 540 MW combined cycle plant consist of two gas turbine generators and a third steam turbine which utilizes the heat produced by the gas turbine generators. This greatly improves the efficiency of the plant. This plant may be one of the last fossil fuel plants funded by the Rural Utility Services (RUS) of the Department of Agriculture.