Electricity generated at Delaware's newest solar farm near Georgetown is now flowing to hundreds of homes in Kent and Sussex Counties.
The Delaware Electric Cooperative's Bruce A. Henry Solar Energy Farm started producing power last month, but the entire facility became operational this week.
Construction on the 20-acre site began in January, where 16,000 locally-manufactured solar panels generate enough power to light up 500 homes. Co-op officials say they are considering doubling the size of the $14 million facility, which would also double the output, producing power for 1,000 homes.
"Once plans to build the solar farm were finalized, we decided to use products made in Delaware. Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, this project has provided a boost to the state’s economy," said Bill Andrew, president and CEO of Delaware Electric Cooperative.
In its first year alone, the four megawatt solar project is expected to prevent more than 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the air, which is the equivalent of taking 1,239 cars off the road.
“Delaware Electric Cooperative is a national leader in providing cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy,” said Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Collin O’Mara. “With this new solar energy farm, the Cooperative is helping Delaware transition to a cleaner energy future, supporting local manufacturing and construction, and further establishing our state as a national leader in solar power.”
The solar farm will help DEC comply with state standards, which require Delaware utilities to purchase or produce 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. DEC says 10 percent of its energy currently comes from green sources.
Earlier this year, DEC also announced a deal to purchase energy produced at the Sandtown Landfill in Kent County. New engines are being built at the site, which will convert excess methane gas into electricity.
DEC serves 84,000 customers in Kent and Sussex Counties.
This story was reported through a news coverage partnership between NBC10.com and NewsWorks.org