Mena-based electricity distributor Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative and North Little Rock-based solar array installer Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) unveiled Thursday (July 30) a completed 1-megawatt solar array near the cooperative’s headquarters off of Arkansas Highway 88.
The array is dedicated to the cooperative’s former president and CEO, Leon Philpot, who retired July 2 after working for the cooperative for 58 years. Brad Castor has since been named president and CEO for the cooperative.
The project, the Leon Philpot Solar Generation Facility, is one of the most advanced systems in the country and includes a single axis tracking array and nearly 3,800 panels on 9 acres, according to a news release. The system will mitigate a portion of the cooperative’s peak demand and produce up to 1 megawatt of peak power. TPI installed 1.4 megawatts of DC power to be inverted to 1 megawatt of AC usable energy.
Work on the project started in late February, said Jennah Denney, marketing and public relations coordinator for TPI.
“Our cooperative network is always working to ensure that we have a variety of power resources to meet membership needs, and renewable energy is an integral part of that strategy,” Philpot said.
TPI and the cooperative reached agreements in early March, and the array provides electricity for the cooperative’s members. The cooperative serves more than 8,900 member accounts across parts of Howard, Montgomery, Polk and Sevier counties in Arkansas along with Oklahoma counties.
“At Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative, our goal is to be a trusted energy advocate for our members,” Castor said. “We are pleased that Mena is the home to this 1-megawatt solar array. This solar energy project is going to help our cooperative family as well as our local communities. As a nonprofit electric cooperative owned by our members, we give back to the people we serve.”
This is the 13th electric cooperative in Arkansas that TPI has partnered with to develop solar or energy storage projects and most of them have been within the scope 1 megawatt because of an agreement with the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.
“We are so excited to partner with RMEC to help lower the cost of energy to its members as well as provide economic stimulus to Mena and Polk County for the next 30 years and beyond,” TPI President Michael Henderson said. “It will also generate more tax revenue for the school and county. This new technology is representative of the innovative and progressive spirit that exists in the RMEC community.”