Scenic Hill Solar to invest over $100 million in UA System arrays

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,050 views 

Little Rock-based Scenic Hill Solar announced Wednesday (May 17) reaching an agreement with the University of Arkansas System that will include 74 megawatts in DC solar array capacity, the second largest by a U.S. public university and the third-largest university solar initiative in the United States. Scenic Hill Solar will invest more than $100 million in the project comprising 24 solar arrays across the state.

According to a news release, the UA System is expected to save nearly $150 million over the next 25 years as a result of the initiative. The UA System also is working on training, education and research activities for its faculty, staff and students.

“We are thrilled to partner with Scenic Hill Solar on this innovative solar project, which positions the UA System as a leader in advancing renewable energy while being good stewards of our finances and the environment,” said UA System President Donald Bobbitt. “This initiative, along with our other programs, will provide students and faculty with valuable education and training opportunities, and will contribute to economic development across the state in a way that hasn’t been done in this field.”

Scenic Hill Solar CEO Bill Halter congratulated “the UA leadership for their forward-thinking vision to catapult the university into the forefront of the fastest-growing industry in America. This project is a testament to their commitment to reducing costs, environmental sustainability and economic development in Arkansas. We are proud to partner with UA on their groundbreaking initiative, which will create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and provide education and training opportunities for the solar industry.”

Scenic Hill Solar will build, own and operate the 24 arrays that the company hopes to be completed by the end of 2024, pending regulatory approval. The smaller projects that don’t need approval from the Arkansas Public Service Commission could be operating by the end of 2023.

According to the release, the 74 megawatts of DC solar capacity will produce more than 125.8 million kilowatt-hours in the first year of operation and nearly 3.5 trillion kilowatt-hours over the next 30 years. The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tons, or the equivalent of driving 6.3 billion fewer gasoline-powered passenger vehicle miles, planting 40.9 million tree seedlings or providing more than 480,000 homes electricity for one year.