North Little Rock-based renewable energy company Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) recently broke ground on two solar arrays and completed a solar project in southern Arkansas.
TPI said (Oct. 15) construction of arrays for Star City School District and Yorktown Water Association in Star City will start in the fourth quarter. TPI also recently celebrated the completion of the solar project for Bearden School District, which comprises parts of Ouachita, Dallas and Calhoun counties.
The 1-megawatt array for Star City School District will use single-axis tracking technology and is expected to generate 1.97 million kilowatt-hours in the first year of operation or about 75% of its electricity demand. C&L Electric Cooperative would provide the remaining 25% of electricity demand.
“The Star City School District is proud to be a part of this project,” Superintendent Jordan Frizzell said. “We want to find innovative ways to take care of our environment while being fiscally responsible. As a pillar in the Star City community, being able to find ways to produce clean, renewable energy for our district is a great opportunity that benefits everyone.”
The 500-kilowatt array for Yorktown Water Association also will use single-axis tracking technology and generate more than 1.01 million kilowatt-hours in the first year of operation, or about 64% of its electricity demand.
“This project will help keep the cost of providing water low for all of YMA’s customers,” TPI President Michael Henderson said. “This investment will also provide an economic boost to the southeast Arkansas region.”
TPI owns the arrays that will be built on 12 acres. TPI and the school district and association have a 20-year solar agreement and will sell to them the electricity generated by the arrays. The school district serves Star City and Grady and several unincorporated areas. The association provides water services to the community.
The solar project for Bearden School District is expected to save the school district $25,000 annually. The 1,140-panel system can produce more than 720,000 kilowatt-hours per year or about 90% of its electricity demand. TPI and Bearden School District also have a 20-year solar agreement.
“Cost savings for the 20-year contract will be approximately $500,000 for the district,” Superintendent Denny Rozenberg said. “Savings are being achieved simultaneously while the district is reducing our carbon footprint. From the point of our joint contract signing with South Central Service Cooperative, to this point, where we are ready to start generating solar power, the process has been very smooth. The whole team of Today’s Power has been professional and reliable to work with.”
The savings from the agreement is expected to be reallocated to services for the school district.
“Partnering with the Bearden School District is truly an honor,” Henderson said. “90% of the energy usage of the district will be offset at a reduced rate by solar power. Such savings will be reinvested in the community and will be able to go back to the students and education directly. This project exemplified the capacity of Bearden School to reinvest in the community. Projects like this mean that you are not paying for electricity that is being generated in a neighboring county or state. However, this does not come without vision, but this school board has shown its progressivity and brought this project online.”
TPI was created in November 2014 by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Inc., a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. TPI offers solar photovoltaic systems, energy storage systems, electric vehicles and charging stations.