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Solar Farm Dedication Ceremony
C-T 08 04 17
On Thursday, MC Power held a dedication ceremony for their 23 acre solar farm facility on the southeast corner of town on 3rd Street. The new facility has 9,720 solar panels and produces 3.25 megawatts of d.c. power. It has four inverters, a transformer, and uses an estimated 31 miles of wiring to bring the power to the distribution system that will power an average of 350-400 homes in Chillicothe per year. Financed by Gardner capital, MC Power Company will own, operate, and maintain the facility that holds solar panels that cover 16 acres.

CT-Photo / Jaime Saucedo

Tom Hardwick, VP of Business Development for MC Power, praised Livingston County and City of Chillicothe officials for working together to make building the facility possible. John Twitty of Gardner Capital Inc., called it "a fabulous partnership." "Those kind of things just don't happen," said Twitty, "They happen because good people reach out to one another and they try to do the right thing. This is obviously the right thing."

That partnership extends between the various companies that had to work together to make the project work. Gardner Capital financed the project, MC Power will manage the facility, distribution will still be handled by Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, and the facility is a part of Missouri Public Utility Alliance. Providing renewable energy sources is a statewide commitment and MC Power now has seven solar facilities in Missouri, with four more that are currently being built. As part of their community outreach, MC Power also made a donation to Main Street Chillicothe to support continuous downtown development projects. MC Power Companies has a 25-year contract with Livingston County.

Solar Farm Update June 20, 2017

Solar Farm Work Begins
By Jaime Saucedo and Catherine Stortz-Ripley, C-T
C-T 04/26/17

A groundbreaking ceremony for a solar farm in the southeast part of Chillicothe, just outside the city limits, took place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, at 366 East Third Street. The event is being coordinated by MC Power Companies in conjunction with the city of Chillicothe, Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, Livingston County, Missouri Public Utility Alliance, and Gardner Capital, Inc.

Photo Courtesy of MC Power Companies, Sedalia, MO

Groundwork on the 23-acre site began recently and materials for the racking system for the solar panels arrived Monday. Crews were on site Tuesday and began installing posts. The solar panels will then be installed and the panels wired together and underground conduit laid. Company officials anticipate the project to be substantially completed within 10 to 12 weeks with actual production to Solar farm to start within a week to 10 days after substantial completion. The company, MC Power Company, is installing a 3.2 megawatt solar farm that will include approximately 9,720 solar panels rated at 335 watts each. Electricity from the farm will go into the CMU electric distribution system, according to CMU General Manager Jim Gillilan. MC Power Company officials estimate that the solar farm will generate enough electricity in a year's time to power 300 average-size homes. The solar farm is located south of East Third Street and east of Mitchell Avenue.

Construction has started on a 3.2 megawatt solar farm being constructed on a 23-acre site just east of the Chillicothe city limits.
A groundbreaking ceremony will take place Tuesday. C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley 04/21/17

The Chillicothe solar energy farm groundbreaking Tuesday introduced a collection of people and companies who worked together to bring the opportunity to town. MC Power Companies, Missouri Public Utility Alliance, Gardner Capitol, Inc., the City of Chillicothe and the Livingston County commission worked together to create a situation that would win the chance to bring the solar farm to Chillicothe.

Photo Courtesy of MC Power Companies, Sedalia, MO
Tom Hardwick, Vice President of Business Development for MC Power
Companies, directs participants of the groundbreaking ceremony. Caption:
Jaime Saucedo, C-T

The opportunity first arose in 2015, but Chillicothe fell short and that opportunity went elsewhere. But, on May 2, 2016, Tom Hardwick, the vice president of business development for MC Power Companies, met with Jim Gillilan, general manager of Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, to get a deeper look at the possibility of building a solar energy farm here. Together, they discussed the opportunity and potential sites before it was time to take it to the City Council and County Commission. Loren Williamson, Senior vice president for MC Power Companies, recalled those discussions during the ground-breaking ceremony and praised the forward-thinking and positive attitude of the local county and municipal leadership. "We want to thank the City of Chillicothe," said Williamson. "Questions were how can we get it done, rather than why would we do something like this."

Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney spoke of how economic improvements such as this will draw commerce and population to the city of Chillicothe. "Certainly, this is another great day for Chillicothe," said Haney, "...another economic tool, and the things that have happened in the last two years, we're certainly proud of."

There was similar praise for Gillilan by John Twitty, of Gardner Capitol, Inc., out of Springfield, Missouri. "Chillicothe Municipal Utilities has been and is very highly thought of in our state," said Twitty. Duncan Kincheloe, president of the Missouri Public Utilities Alliance, added to that praise, saying, "Because Jim is Jim, when Chillicothe wasn't in the first round, there would be a second round; I knew Jim would see to that."

Photo Courtesy of MC Power Companies, Sedalia, MO

Another topic was the potential that renewable energy provides in a global economy that is getting "greener" all the time. Like Mayor Haney, most speakers mentioned the potential to draw businesses and companies to the community because of the 'predictable' energy and costs. "So, when they are looking for communities that they can come to, they are looking for communities with renewable energy," said Kincheloe. "Chillicothe is in position to take advantage of these opportunities in attracting those jobs, attracting those employers to the community." "The work that MC Power and Missouri Public Utility Alliance has put in has put Missouri on the map" said Twitty. Tom Hardwick of MC Power finished his statements saying, "A solar farm will be here 25-30, 40 years from now. That's quite a legacy."

MC Power Company currently operates solar farms in the Missouri communities of Butler, Trenton, Macon, Marshall, Waynesville and Rolla. The company just recently conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a solar farm in Independence. Other farms are planned for Lebanon and Higginsville. All are similar in size.

Loren Williamson, senior vice president of project development for MC Power Companies, which is based in Lee's Summit, stated that solar farms are economic tools for communities. "It is an economic development catalyst for the community and an educational tool," he said, noting that prospective companies are drawn to communities that utilizing renewable resources. "They look for forward-thinking communities," Williamson said. "It puts communities in the upper echelon." Williamson also stated that the company is looking forward to being a part of Chillicothe. "We have a contract to operate and maintain the facility for 20 years," he said. "MC Power Company has always believed in being a part of the community. We will be a member of the community."

In appreciation of the efforts of the Livingston County Commission, the city of Chillicothe, and Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, the company presented Main Street Chillicothe a $5,000 check at the groundbreaking ceremony, followed by a second $5,000 check to the organization when the site is dedicated. "It is exciting to be part of the project in Chillicothe," Williamson said. Once completed, there is minimal on-site maintenance. The solar farm is expected to be operational by the end of July, 2017.

Photo Courtesy of MC Power Companies, Sedalia, MO

City, County Discuss Solar Farm Pplan

Chillicothe City Council members will discuss and consider an ordinance for an interconnect agreement with MC Power and Chillicothe Municipal Utilities for a solar farm when they gather for their regular council meeting at 6:30 p.m. August 29, 2016, in the council chambers at City Hall. A solar farm is being proposed for a 23-acre site located south of East Third Street and east of Mitchell Avenue. A public meeting regarding the proposed solar farm took place earlier this month (see below). MC Power seeks to install photovoltaic solar panels at the site to generate electricity that will go into the CMU electric distribution system.

The proposal has won support from Chillicothe Municipal Utilities. Jim Gillilan, CMU general manager, said having a solar farm is a good economic draw for the community and solar power generation is in line with EPA regulations. "This is getting us into the future and being able to answer all those environmental mandates that are probably going to come up in the next five to 10 years," Gillilan said. Currently, Chillicothe power consumption is generated by 79 percent coal, 13 percent gas, and 8 percent from renewables (wind, solar or landfill gas). A small percentage of power is generated through hydropower. Projections indicate that enough power could be generated through the Chillicothe solar farm to provide power for approximately 300 homes. The power generated through the solar farm would be blended with other resources in the electric distribution system. Tom Hardwick, of MC Power, addressed Livingston County Commissioners recently and explained the project to them, seeking a nod of support for the project. Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas stated that the commission is supporting the project. "We think it is a good concept," Douglas stated. Discussion took place as to whether the property should be taxed once the solar farm is developed, and Douglas said that the property will be placed on the tax rolls. Additionally, MC Power has stated that the company would also make a financial contribution to a local entity.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

CAPTION: Tom Hardwick (left), a representative of MC Power, discusses plans for a solar farm with Livingston County Commissioners. The farm is planned for a 23-acre site located south of East Third Street and east of Mitchell Avenue.

Public Meeting Monday for Proposed Solar Farm
August 11, 2016

A public information meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, August 15, for the proposed solar farm planned for a 23-acre site which is located south of East Third Street and east of Mitchell Avenue. The meeting will be conducted by MC Power and Chillicothe Municipal Utilities in the conference room at the CMU office building, 920 Washington Street. Entry to the conference room is on the north side of the building. The project, proposed by MC Power seeks to install photovoltaic solar panels at the site to generate electricity that will go into the CMU electric distribution system. A preliminary site drawing is shown below.

CAPTION: A solar farm is proposed for a 23-acre tract of land located south of East Third Street and east of Mitchell Avenue. A public informational meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at Chillicothe Municipal Utilities

City Exploring Solar Farm
June 29, 2015

A solar farm is being considered for the former prison property on Third Street. The city of Chillicothe will have a public workshop at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, to discuss the proposal. The project would include a series of solar panels that would produce electricity for Chillicothe Municipal Utilities. The workshop will be in the council chambers at City Hall. Community members and neighbors are urged to attend.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

The city of Chillicothe Council will hold a public workshop on Wednesday, July 8, at 5:30, at the City Hall Council Chambers to discuss the proposal of an electric utility project that would be on the former prison property on Third Street. A solar farm that would encompass most of the 40 acres would be constructed in the next year according to City Administrator Ike Holland. The former prison is in the process of demolition, and this project would start this fall and be completed by 2016. The solar farm would be a series of solar panels that would produce electricity to CMU electrical department. Chillicothe has been selected as a possible site for the facility along with other towns in Missouri. The City Council is asking the community, neighbors of the former prison, business owners and all interested parties to attend this workshop. There will be photographs of the proposed solar farm and discussion with the public will be on the agenda. Questions about the proposed solar farm can be answered by the CMU director in Chillicothe. Questions about the former prison site, can be answered by the City Administrator at City Hall.

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