Kentucky Warming To Solar

The current population of the state of Kentucky is estimated to be 4.50 million people[1]. In July 2020, state utilities[2] used coal (68.2%), natural gas (25.9%) and renewable energy (5.9%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, biomass and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Kentucky.

Kentucky’s coal subsidies[3] and the use of inexpensive natural gas contribute to the state’s below average cost of electricity. In July 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in Kentucky was 10.55 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.26 ¢ per kWh.

Kentucky is one of 20 states that has neither a renewable portfolio standard mandate nor a goal. Coal was first mined in Kentucky in 1790 and today, the state ranks 5th in total coal production in the nation. Although coal is still “king,” Kentucky is slowing warming to the economic and environmental advantages of renewable energy.

Recent solar energy development in Kentucky include:

  • 500 kW Solar Project – In July 2019, Louisville Gas and Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utility Energy (KUE) commissioned the 1st solar array at the Solar Share facility, located approximately 25 miles east of the city of Louisville, Kentucky.
  • 500 kW Solar Project – In June 2020, LG&E and KUE commissioned the 2nd solar array at the Solar Share facility.
  • Agrivoltaic Project – The Solar Share facility is also home to agrivoltaic studies on co-developing highly productive agricultural lands with solar projects. The facility attracts and supports native bees and honeybees, which benefit pollinator habitats.
  • 50 MW Solar Project – Renewable energy company, Community Energy has announced plans to develop a solar project located approximately 125 miles west of the city of Louisville, Kentucky. The solar project facility is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 100 MW Solar Project – Community energy has announced plans to build two new solar projects, which will be located in McCracken and Meade Counties, located in western Kentucky. The two solar projects are scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.

Coal subsidies and lobbyists contribute to Kentucky’s reliance on coal. However, the compelling economic and environmental advantages of renewable energy will encourage more utilities to dethrone, king coal.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

[1] Kentucky Population 2020, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency,

[3] A Review of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma & Wyoming by D. Koplow & C. Lin

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