The last thing that a museum dedicated to the coal industry would do is run on anything other than coal. However, the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum has chosen to go solar.
Owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, the Benham museum is switching to solar in order to save money. According to communications director Brandon Robinson, the project will help save around eight to ten thousand dollars in energy costs to the building alone.
“It’s a little ironic,” Robinson said to WYMT. “But you know, coal and solar and all the different energy sources work hand-in-hand. And, of course, coal is still king around here.”
The project was funded by an outside foundation and includes 20 solar panels installed by Bluegrass Solar. Bluegrass owner Tre Sexton told WYMT that an average house could be run by 20 panels which would cost an estimated $17,000 to $20,000 – but the system would pay itself off within five to seven years.
The college itself has experienced budget cuts, but Robinson said the money saved would go back to the school.
“Of course, in the current economic times we’re in, any way to save money is always appreciated and helpful – especially when that’s money putting back toward teaching our students,” said Robinson.