Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative (SWAEC) announced Monday (Sept. 28) the completion of the 1.4-megawatt C. Wayne Whitaker Solar Power Generation Facility off Highway 49 in Texarkana.
The fully-operational facility can provide 2.25 million kilowatt-hours annually and was designed to lower the cooperative’s peak demand. It was dedicated to SWAEC President and CEO Wayne Whitaker, who is retiring this year. North Little Rock-based renewable energy company Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) installed the 1.4-megawatt DC single-axis tracking system. TPI operates the array through a 20-year arrangement with the cooperative.
“It is an honor to be part of this flip the switch ceremony and especially the dedication of this solar facility to Wayne Whitaker,” TPI President Michael Henderson said. “I have had the opportunity to work with Wayne for 34 years, and I hold him in the highest regard as an industry leader. He has always made well through-out decisions that are in the best interest of the members. This solar system is a great representative of Wayne by being productive, leading edge, reliable and has great endurance.”
The array was built on 7 acres owned by the cooperative and includes nearly 3,800 solar panels and a life span of more than 25 years.
“Our partnership with Today’s Power allows us to add 1 (megawatt) of renewable generation to our portfolio and improve the quality of life for our members,” Whitaker said. “Our mission at Southwest Arkansas Electric is to provide first-class electric service to the community that is safe, reliable and affordable.”
The cooperative has more than 28,000 members throughout the counties of Columbia; Hempstead; Howard; Lafayette; Little River; Miller; Polk; Sevier; McCurtain, Okla.; and Bowie, Texas.
TPI is a subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives.