Ozarks Electric Cooperative along with Springdale Public Schools and Today’s Power broke ground on a new 2.38 megawatt solar project near Sonora Middle School in Springdale on Wednesday.
According to Ozarks Electric, the project will employ single-axis tracking technology that moves the panels to track the sun throughout the day to increase power output. It is expected to generate 4,809,388 kWh per year, and will also contain 6.9 MW of battery storage to be used by Ozarks Electric.
The solar project, which will be built on property owned by Springdale Public Schools, is estimated to save the schools approximately $2.6 million over the next 25 years as it is intended to offset roughly 95 percent of the total energy consumed by Don Tyson School of Innovation, Sonora Middle School, and Sonora Elementary School. Construction is expected to begin later this month and be completed in the second quarter of 2022.
“We are thankful to Mitchell Johnson [of Ozarks Electric] for connecting us with Today’s Power and this opportunity for environmental stewardship. This partnership positions Springdale Schools to be on the cutting edge of fiscal responsibility, technology and clean energy for public schools,” said Jared Cleveland, Springdale Public Schools Superintendent. “The district is proud of this partnership and for our School Board’s continued leadership toward responsible energy consumption for our buildings.”
Members of Ozarks Electric will also benefit from the project, since the 6.9 MW of battery storage will lower wholesale demand costs. Other projects including solar and storage, such as the City of Fayetteville and Ozarks Multi-Industry Solar Park, have demonstrated this concept in collaboration between Ozarks Electric and Today’s Power.
Ozarks Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative, serving more than 79,000 meters across nine counties in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma. Ozarks Electric operates a 1-megawatt community solar facility called Ozarks Natural Energy, with shares available to members. In 2016, Ozarks Electric launched OzarksGo, a locally-owned telecommunications subsidiary offering all-fiber gigabit internet, HDTV and telephone services to cooperative residential and commercial customers.
Today’s Power, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. Today’s Power, Inc. offers turn-key solar photovoltaic systems, energy storage systems, electric vehicles and charging stations for all sizes and applications. Today’s Power has over 70 systems located in Arkansas, Kansas, Tennessee, etc.
Photo Info.: Mitchell Johnson, President and CEO of Ozarks Electric, Jared Cleveland, Superintendent of Springdale Public Schools, and Derek A. Dyson, President and CEO of Today’s Power, participated in the groundbreaking for a new 2.38-megawatt solar project Wednesday, Feb. 9 near Sonora Middle School in Springdale.
Photo Credit: Springdale Public Schools/Mary Jordan