Solar plant to meet all electricity demand for Arkansas school district

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 934 views 

Solar power developer Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock announced plans Tuesday (June 4) to build a 585-kilowatt (kW) solar power plant that will meet all the electricity demand for a small school district in central Arkansas.

Guy-Perkins School District, which has more than 450 students and 80 faculty and staff, is expected to become the first school district in the state to receive all its power from renewable energy, according to a news release. The plant should start generating electricity for the school district in winter 2019.

“The Guy-Perkins School District is pleased to partner with Scenic Hill Solar on a 585 kW DC (450 kW AC) solar generating facility,” said Shade Gilbert, superintendent for the Guy-Perkins School District. “The facility will generate roughly all of the district’s electricity needs. To my knowledge, no other school district in the state of Arkansas is generating all of its electricity needs from a renewable source. Cost savings to the district for the 30-year agreement will be roughly $500,000. All of this is being achieved while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint by 17,000 tons of CO2 emissions for the same period. The process has been quite seamless from beginning talks in January to this stage where we are ready to order materials and begin construction. The entire Scenic Hill Solar team has been a joy to work with.”

Scenic Hill Solar will build, own and operate the solar power plant on land leased from the school district, and the school district will purchase power from the plant, according to terms of a 28-year solar power agreement.

“We are proud of our partnership with the Guy-Perkins School District and their forward-looking leadership,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “This solar project will reduce electricity costs, hedge against future electricity price increases, provide significant environmental benefits, provide local economic development and offer a 21st Century educational opportunity for students.”

The plant will have more than 1,400 solar panels with a ground-mount fixed-tilt and is expected to produce more than 900,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year of operation and more than 25.16 million kilowatt hours of electricity over the next 30 years. It is projected to reduce emissions by 17,000 metric tons, which would be the equivalent of driving more than 43 million passenger car miles.

Scenic Hill Solar also recently partnered with the city of Clarksville to build a solar plant that will power all of its government operations.