Green energy comes to rural, southern Oklahoma

Published: Jan. 26, 2017 at 10:04 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII)-- It's now been a month since an Oklahoma electric co-op began providing solar power to their customers in southern Oklahoma, and more green energy is on its way.

Driving east on highway 32, Marietta residents have noticed something new.

"To me, it's impressive," Red River Valley Rural Electric Association customer Paul Riley said. "They're looking to the future is what they're doing."

950 solar panels spread out over 2 acres. Paul Riley drives by daily, and was apprehensive when construction began in late October.

"I first thought it was going to be an eye sore. But it's not, its cool." Riley said.

Riley has been a customer of R.R.V.R.E.A for over 30 years, the same company that built the solar panels.

R.R.V.R.E.A services 15,000 rural meters, over Love, Carter, Marshall, Jefferson and Johnston counties.

"Not only is it important for us to try and keep costs down for our members, but we feel this is the right move," R.R.V.R.E.A Assitant Director of Marketing Kordale Lornes said. "We want to help preserve our planet."

At maximum efficiency, the panels can generate enough electricity to power 35 homes.

And an even larger solar project is on track to be online by the end of February, from their cooperative Western Farmers. That solar field will be able to power 400 homes.

And with the clean energy...comes steadier costs.

"The cost for the output for the solar project will be at a fixed rate, versus using fossil fuels where we have fuel costs fluctuating." Lornes said.

The savings will be spread system wide, but won't be realized until the end of a 20-year fixed rate with Western Farmers.

"I'm proud of them for doing that. It's going to save us money in the long run, and it's going to create energy for us," Riley said. "We need to use what God gave us."