Springdale Public Schools and Ozarks Electric Cooperative have partnered with Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI) to open a new solar and battery storage facility and maximize the group’s ability to harness clean energy. The cooperative and school district officially flipped the switch on the facility, which was installed and will be owned and operated by TPI, on Aug. 22.
The 2.375 megawatt solar array consists of more than 7,000 panels on 15 acres of land near Sonora Middle School in Springdale. The panels include technology that allows them to track the movement of the sun to maximize generation. The project also contains 6.9 megawatts of battery storage to be used by Ozarks Electric.
Combining solar generation with battery storage will allow Springdale schools to offset about 95% of the total energy consumed by Don Tyson School of Innovation, Sonora Middle School and Sonora Elementary School while helping Ozarks reduce its wholesale demand costs. The power generated by the solar panels will thus result in significant savings for the school district. At the same time, Ozarks can utilize the stored battery power during peak times, thereby reducing wholesale demand charges and controlling costs for their members.
“Working together, we can meet the energy needs of our region and add renewable resources while continuing to provide reliable, affordable power for our members,” said Mitchell Johnson, president and CEO of Ozarks Electric. This new solar farm also offers unique STEM opportunities for Sonora Elementary and Sonora Middle School students within the Springdale Public School district in particular. Jared Cleveland, Springdale Public Schools Superintendent, extolled the project as a great learning opportunity for students, as well as providing “an avenue for Springdale Public Schools to reduce our carbon footprint all while saving critical tax dollars that can be reinvested in our students.”
Ozarks and TPI have demonstrated this concept with previous similar projects, including the city of Fayetteville wastewater treatment system and the Ozarks Multi-Industry solar park. Derek Dyson, CEO of Today’s Power, Inc. also expressed enthusiasm over the project.
Springdale Public Schools has 31 campuses in Washington County and an enrollment of approximately 23,000 students in pre-kindergarten through the twelfth grades.
Ozarks Electric, incorporated in 1938, is a member-owned electric cooperative, serving more than 79,000 meters across nine counties in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma.
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.