Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co (OG & E), the utility company serving the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, has announced plans to double the size of the Choctaw Nation Solar Farm located in Durant.
This is part of the company’s plan to increase the size of its renewable energy asset base. It services about 850,000 customers in both Oklahoma and Texas.
The solar farm already occupied 35 acres of land and used more than 15,000 solar panels when it was completed last year. This expansion will see both doubled.
The Choctaw Nation are happy with this move, as being supplied with energy from solar farms have already saved them about $70,000 in bills. This is because customers on a tariff plan pay significantly less during times of peak load when electricity costs are highest, mostly on hot summer days.
Stanley Self wants more of his people to participate in the solar program. He is the director of the Choctaw Nation Utility Authority. “We felt a lot more comfortable as we learned more about the technology and how it worked. We are very excited about this expansion as we look forward to increasing our stake (by adding more Tribal Building accounts to the plan).”
OG & E will increase the Durant solar farm’s capacity to 10 megawatts, from the current 5 megawatts. This will increase the total solar energy portfolio of the utility company to 32 megawatts.
OG & E runs another solar farm in Oklahoma, which is known as the Mustang Energy Center. It has a 2.5 megawatt capacity. It has another 5 megawatt solar plant in Davis. There is another 5 megawatt complex which the company is constructing near Fort Smith, its first in Arkansas. It is expected to come online by September.
The increased capacity at Durant will serve other customers besides the Choctaw Nation, but this is fine with Self, who is happy to share. “We also want more consumers in the OG&E system here in southeast Oklahoma to benefit from the farm. This additional capacity is generated by a clean, renewable energy source that further reduces our carbon footprint. Hopefully we can work together to make these efforts a good fit for both of us.”