Kansas solar energy lags, but sprawling Johnson County solar farm could help change that

Johnson County solar farm

Developers are proposing a 3,500-acre, $320 million solar farm in southwest Johnson County, outside Gardner. If the project comes to fruition, the massive ground-mounted array would be the biggest in Kansas, a state that currently gets less than 0.2% of its overall energy output from solar. Image courtesy Share Alike 3.0 used under a Creative Commons license.

A massive solar farm stretching from west of Gardner possibly into Douglas County will, if it comes to fruition, become the biggest in Kansas, a state that has lagged behind in solar energy development.

Billy Wilkins, project director for the West Gardner Solar Project, said Tuesday that his company, NextEra Energy, has already gotten signatures from landowners for 2,000 acres of the proposed 3,500-acre, $320 million project.

The ground-mounted solar array would not necessarily run contiguously, however. Wilkins said the project would provide setbacks and would likely exclude land that is used for recreation or environmental purposes.