TPI to build solar arrays for Bearden School District, South Central Service Cooperative

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 230 views 

Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) of Little Rock will partner with South Central Service Cooperative and Bearden School District to install 100-kilowatt and 400-kilowatt solar systems.

South Central Service Cooperative is one of 15 education service cooperatives in Arkansas and is based in Camden, which is in southern Arkansas in Ouachita County. Bearden School District includes parts of Ouachita, Dallas and Calhoun counties. South Central Service Cooperative will be the first education service cooperative in the state to install a campus-based solar system, and the Bearden School District will be the first member school of the cooperative to install a solar array, according to a news release.

The cooperative will work with TPI to install a 100-kilowatt fixed-tilt array near its headquarters.

“South Central Service Cooperative is dedicated to innovation and sustainability in reducing our carbon footprint,” said Karen Kay McMahen, director of the cooperative. “This solar initiative will not only benefit the services provided by the cooperative but sets an example for our community and the state of Arkansas of what can be achieved when collaborating with electric cooperatives.”

The array is expected to provide enough electricity to meet 99% of the cooperative’s energy usage in one year. It should generate 186,584 kilowatt-hours in the first year.

Bearden School District will install a 400-kilowatt array that’s expected to save the school district $25,000 annually. The array will generate 790,000 kilowatt-hours annually and provide about 90% of the school district’s energy. Entergy will provide the remaining 10%.

“As a public school district, we feel it is our duty and obligation to use all available resources to be fiscally responsible,” said Superintendent Denny Rozenberg. “The development of a clean, renewable energy system for our campus is an outstanding example of action to that goal.”

“Investing in local communities provides a direct benefit to South Central Service Cooperative and Bearden schools, and the community, as a resource for students to learn about renewable energy technology,” said TPI President Michael Henderson. “The desire by the South Central Service Cooperative and Bearden school boards and leadership to position themselves as leaders in progressive education is something for which the parents and students can be proud.”

The array for South Central Service Cooperative is expected to be completed in May, and the array for Bearden School District should be completed in the second quarter of this year, said Jennah Denney, marketing and public relations coordinator for TPI. Both projects are under 20-year service agreements that do not include price increases and do not require an upfront investment from the cooperative or school district.

TPI is a subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives.