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Shelby County manufacturer finding new use for solar panels

Posted: 3:54 PM, Jul 29, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-29 16:41:24-04
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SHELBYVILLE—A Shelby County company is finding ways to use solar panels that go beyond just producing electricity.

KN Platech makes plastic molded components that are used for auto parts, hospital beds and other uses.

Now, the company is branching out into solar panels that float on water. The panels are being tested and demonstrated in a retention pond next to the plant.

According to Plant Manager Dennis Kieweg, KN Platech's parent company is selling the product in Asia. The panels that will be produced in Shelby County will be marketed and sold in the U.S.

Kieweg says the floating panels produce power, but also reduce water evaporation—an issue in dry and sunny areas out west. Sunlight can't reach the water where the panels are, leading to less evaporation. Farmers, ranchers and businesses with retention ponds could find a use for the panels.

"One other advantage of putting the solar panels on water, is the fact that they stay cooler and loose less efficiency than they would mounted on the ground or a roof," said Kieweg.

KN Platech has about 125 employees at its Shelby County plant, which is located off I 74 at State Road 9.