Originally published at Newspressnow.com.
A Mitchell Woods Business Park company will soon start taking advantage of solar power to save energy costs. Becker Underwood, an international firm involved in the production of seed-enhancement products, purchased 84 solar panels in what will become the largest private solar array in St. Joseph. Brightergy Solar of Lenexa, Kan., hopes to have all the panels installed on the facility’s roof by the end of next week, said Susan Brown, the company’s vice president for business development. Weather and logistical issues have slowed the work, she added.The installation began about a week ago, said Chris Feiden, head of operations for Becker Underwood’s St. Joseph plant. The firm is committed to sustainability, he said, and deemed the solar project a perfect fit for its emphasis on renewable energy generation.Solar power was regarded as the most beneficial energy source for Becker Underwood, based on commercial tax credits offered by Kansas City Power & Light.“Chris has worked on reducing energy demand first,” Ms. Brown said of a KCP&L stipulation for the credits.Savings from the array are estimated to save the company 4 percent of its annual electrical usage, Mr. Feiden said. “Our investment is roughly around $50,000,” he said.The company receives a 30 percent federal grant to help pay for the work, and will earn a $2 per watt rebate from KCP&L upon the array’s completion — accounting for another 30 percent payment on the project.“They expense that depreciation all in the first year,” Ms. Brown said.The panels are composed of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into DC (direct current) power. The electricity then travels to an inverter, where DC changes to AC (alternating current) electricity and passes into breaker boxes before heading to a facility’s electric loads. Ray Scherer can be reached at email@example.com.