North Little Rock-based Scenic Hill Solar and Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority are working together to build a 2.06 megawatt DC solar power plant that will provide electricity for 90% of Ozark Mountain Water’s operations.
Scenic Hill Solar will build, own and operate the plant and sell electricity to Ozark Mountain Water under a long-term contract. Construction on the $3 million project is expected to start after it receives all governmental approvals, and it is expected to be completed in early 2021.
The project will provide jobs and save ratepayers more than $3 million over the next 28 years, provide greater property tax revenues for the community, establish Ozark Mountain Water as a contributor to improve the environment and provide competition to electric utilities, according to a news release. The plant is expected to reduce pressure on Ozark Mountain Water’s tight budget and provide additional resources for it to maintain high quality, cost-effective service for its 18 rural water association customers, the release said.
“This project will save us a significant amount of money using cutting-edge technology while measurably improving our environmental stewardship,” said Andy Anderson, chairman of the Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority. “This project will serve as a model for the Ozarks region and will protect our customers against future rate increases. Ozark Mountain Water is dedicated to serving the north central Arkansas region with clean and reliable water. With this project, we are committed to using clean electricity to deliver that water as well.”
“Congratulations to Chairman Andy Anderson and the Ozark Mountain Water Board of Directors for launching the largest solar power in the north central region of Arkansas,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “Scenic Hill Solar is proud to partner with these forward-looking leaders and to invest over $3 million into the local economy – simultaneously creating jobs, reducing electricity costs and improving the environment.”
The plant will include a ground-mounted single-axis tracking solar array with more than 5,100 modules (panels), is expected to produce more than 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation and more than 97 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over the next 30 years. It is projected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 69,139 metric tons and is equal to eliminating the burning of over 76 million pounds of coal or providing more than 11,700 homes with electricity for one year.
Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority provides water to more than 20,000 Arkansans in Boone, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties. Its water source is Bull Shoals Lake, and the utility provides water to 18 water associations through nearly 120 miles of waterline.
Scenic Hill Solar provides commercial, industrial, governmental and utility clients with solar energy plants.