Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc.’s (AECI) new renewable energy subsidiary announced today that it had reached an exclusive agreement to sell commercial-grade solar photovoltaic units across its six-state distribution footprint.
The deal involves TodayPower Inc. (TPI), a wholly owned subsidiary of AECI, and Minneapolis, Minn.-based tenKsolar Inc., which owns a proprietary technology to design, manufacture and market high-efficiency rooftop photovoltaic units. Little Rock-based AECI is the utility service operation for the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., the 17-member electric distribution cooperative that provides electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.
TPI President Michael Henderson said the exclusive distribution pact allows the Arkansas electric cooperative to market and sell tenKsolar products in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Missouri. TPI is also an authorized distributor and installer for the commercial-grade tenKsolar photovoltaic systems.
“TPI allows the customers in the six state area to do business with a company they trust,” said Henderson. “For years, large scale solar projects were cost-prohibitive. However, the economics for solar power continue to improve and become more attractive for entities that want to invest in the technology. “
He continued, “We believe developing a mix of energy resources is smart strategic planning for our customers.”
For its part, Joel Cannon, CEO of tenKsolar, said the partnership with TPI will provide a distribution footprint into the mid-South for for the Minnesota solar company’s photovoltaic products.
AECC CONTINUES EXPANSION INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR
Meanwhile, the distribution deal with tenKsolar continues the state’s largest electric cooperative’s expansion into the fast-growing renewable energy sector.
In November, AECC announced an agreement with Kansas-based Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm to purchase wind energy for its Arkansas members. That contract was the first wind energy venture for AECC.
The agreement will provide energy to customers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri through long-term power purchase agreements with AECC, AECI and Southwestern Electric Power Co., a unit of American Electric Power. The wind capacity purchased by AECC is part of about 470 watts of potential generation provided by the farm’s 294 wind turbines.
TPI was formed to provide cost-effective, state-of-the-art products in solar generation technology and other energy management options, company officials said.
“We examined many solar products and found the tenKsolar technology to be more productive and efficient, as well as being better-suited for community solar, commercial and utility-scale solar energy projects,” Henderson said. ““TPI’s access to the electric industry expertise of AECI employees give our customers a unique added benefit in purchasing solar equipment and installation service from us.”