Clarksville city government powered by 100% solar energy

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 306 views 

Clarksville, the county seat of Johnson County, is the first city in Arkansas to power all of its governmental operations with solar energy, according to a news release.

Clarksville Connected Utilities and North Little Rock-based solar power developer Scenic Hill Solar marked the achievement Wednesday (Sept. 30) with a ribbon cutting for the city’s second solar power plant. The 2.86-megawatt DC plant provides more than $5 million of economic development to Clarksville, the news release shows. Clarksville has an estimated population of 9,764 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Clarksville Connected Utilities and the city of Clarksville are proud to hold the distinction of being the first municipality in Arkansas where the city governmental operations are 100% run by solar power,” said John Lester, general manager of Clarksville Connected Utilities. “Clarksville Connected Utilities has a positive history of continuously implementing innovative and forward thinking solutions aimed at promoting economic development for our community.”

The city’s second solar power plant is a fixed-tilt solar power plant that is helping offset 100% of the city’s electricity consumption through renewable energy. In December 2017, Clarksville Connected Utilities and Scenic Hill Solar completed a 6.5-megawatt DC solar power plant that has been generated electricity for 32 months. On Dec. 30, 2019, Clarksville Connected Utilities and Scenic Hill Solar completed the second solar power plant but delayed celebrating the achievement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are honored to be a part of such a monumental achievement for Clarksville Connected Utilities and the city of Clarksville as the first city government in Arkansas to be fully powered by solar energy,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “We value our strong partnership with Clarksville Connected Utilities which has produced not one, but two solar power plants within the community and promoting economic development and environmental health benefits for its citizens.”

The 2.86-megawatt plant will produce more than 4.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation and over 123 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over the next 30 years. It has 7,258 solar panels and was built on 13 acres at Clarksville Connected Utilities Operation Maintenance facility. It will reduce carbon emissions by more than 86,900 metric tons over the next 30 years, and this is equal to driving over 212 million fewer passenger car miles or eliminating the burning of more than 95 million pounds of coal or providing over 15,000 homes electricity for one year.

Combined, the two solar power plants have a total capacity of 9.32 megawatts DC, will produce more than 15.4 million kilowatt-hours in the first year of operation and more than 427 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in 30 years. They will reduce carbon emissions by more than 300,000 metric tons over 30 years, and this is equal to driving 749 million fewer passenger car miles or eliminating the burning of over 330 million pounds of coal or providing over 51,000 homes electricity for one year.

Clarksville Connected Utilities, formerly Clarksville Light & Water, is a city-owned utility that includes a 61-megawatt peak electricity system, a water plant with a capacity of 16 million gallons per day, a wastewater treatment plant with a capacity of 2.5 million gallons per day and high-capacity fiber optic utility capable of delivering data at multi-gigabit speeds.

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