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Lorain-Medina Rural Electric to add solar energy to power mix

Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative plans to begin construction on a community solar project in late February or early March that will allow its members to purchase the output of the panels.

The solar array with 228 panels will be built behind LMRE’s offices on West Road in Wellington Township.

The LMRE project is part of Ohio’s electric cooperatives’ $4 million investment into the program called OurSolar. Twenty-three cooperatives from across the state are participating.

It is estimated that each panel will produce about 400 kilowatt hours annually. The typical LMRE residential member uses about 15,000 kWhs annually.

Members will be able to purchase the output from up to five panels for 1- 5- or 10-year increments. The cooperative will measure the energy produced by each panel each month and calculate it into the member’s bill. A five-panel subscription is estimated to generate about 175 to 200 kilowatt hours per month, which is 15 to 20 percent of an average member’s monthly energy use. A subscription to a single panel is expected to cost less than $2 per month.

“At LMRE, we believe in strength in numbers,” said Markus Bryant, general manager of LMRE. “Installing a renewable energy project on your own can be expensive and difficult for most people. However, by working together as a cooperative, we can make it a more affordable and viable option.”

Bryant said OurSolar reflects LMRE’s balanced approach to electricity generation. While most of the power supplied to LMRE will continue to be produced by coal-fired generators that are among the cleanest of their kind in the world, OurSolar gives cooperative members the option to supplement that baseload power — that is, coal-based electricity production that is highly reliable and always available — with locally produced renewable energy.

The solar array should be operational in the spring, Bryant said. The cooperative will gather electric use data for two or three months and will then officially introduce the new program at its annual meeting in July when subscriptions will be accepted.

LMRE serves approximately 16,200 members and maintains 1,529 miles of line in Lorain, Medina, Ashland, Huron and Wayne counties.

High winds Tuesday night caused several outages through
Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative's five-county service area

Crews worked through the night and continue this morning restoring for the remaining single outages scattered throughout its service area. All power should be back on this afternoon. 

Substations affected Wednesday included LMRE's Nova substation in Rochester Township, Robson Road substation in Eaton Township, Central substation behind the cooperative's office in Wellington Township and Brighton substation.

The winds took down tree limbs which fell into the cooperative's line. Several service drops that feed members' homes are also reported down this morning. 

The time-consuming portion of power restoral occurred Wednesday morning when line crews worked to restore power to individual members. North Central Electric Cooperative of Attica, Ohio sent two line crews to LMRE to help with restoration. North Central is LMRE's sister cooperative working under a management and shared service arrangement. 



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