A 200 megawatt (MW) solar farm will be built on a former coal mine in eastern Kentucky. It will be the largest solar project in Kentucky and will provide employment opportunities for former coal workers.


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Solar and storage project development firm Savion Energy, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is building the Martin County Solar Project in Pilgrim, Kentucky. Savion Energy provides the details:

The solar energy generation facility will be located on approximately 1,200 acres on the old Martiki mine site in Martin County, interconnecting with Kentucky Power’s 138-kilovolt Inez Substation. When built, the project will create capacity of up to 200 megawatts and will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of more than 33,000 Kentucky homes.

The Martiki coal mine is an abandoned mountain-top strip mine. PV Magazine reported earlier this month:

[M]ost of the workers expected to build the project will be displaced former coal workers. Creating new employment opportunities for displaced fossil fuel workers in renewable energy has been one of the paramount goals of the Biden Administration’s energy transition plans.

Construction of the facility will begin in 2022, and the solar farm should be online by early 2024. The project will create between 250 and 300 construction jobs and 11 full-time jobs.

YaleEnvironment360 noted today:

In 2017, the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum made national news when it decided to cut its power bill by installing rooftop solar panels. Now, solar is taking off in the state. While Kentucky has just 68 megawatts of solar power installed currently, more than 800 megawatts are in the pipeline.

Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) said in a statement:

We are building a future that works for all Kentuckians, and that future includes an increased reliance on renewable energy.

To maintain the incredible economic momentum we have established this year, we must continue to compete for all forms of energy investment. I want to thank Savion for choosing Kentucky.

Read more: Kentucky’s new Democratic governor still backs coal

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Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.