'Locally Grown' Solar On-Line in Arkansas

'Locally Grown' Solar On-Line in Arkansas

Page 44 of RE Magazine - September 2017

Page 44 of RE Magazine - September 2017

Read the story below: 

'Locally Grown' Solar On-Line in Arkansas

The dedication of Southern Arkansas's first community solar project provides Ouachita Electric Cooper­ative (OECC) members the opportunity to purchase "locally grown, locally owned" solar energy, the Camden-based co-op announced.  

The 1-MW array, made up of some 3,840 panels on a five-acre site, is in operation, and members can subscribe to the program and receive bill credits. 

Speaking at the dedication, OECC General Manager and CEO Mark Cayce noted that the Holly Springs facility gives members access to renew­able energy even if it is not feasible at their homes, providing an affordable alternative to installing a roof-mounted system and maintaining it for 25 years. 

"Community solar lines up with our cooperative values and we wanted to do the right thing for our members," Cayce added. 

The array was designed by Today's Power Inc. (NRECA Associate Mem­ber; todayspower.com), a subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives (statewide). 

Also speaking at the dedication, Today's Power President Michael Henderson said the electricity industry is changing. 

"We must be cognizant of new kinds of approaches." 
-Michael Henderson

Contact: Ouachita Electric Coop­erative, Mark Cayce, 877-252- 4538; Today's Power, Jennah Denney, 501-400-5548; The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Rob Roedel, 501-570-2296.

Husqvarna to Construct Solar Power Generation Facility in Nashville, Arkansas

First Solar Installation for Company will Produce 1.3 Megawatts of Power, Substantially Increasing Share of Electricity from Renewable Energy Resources

CHARLOTTE, N.C. [June 21, 2017] Husqvarna Group, a global manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, is building the industry’s first solar power generating facility at its current injection molding plant in Nashville, Arkansas. The new facility is expected to reduce coal-based CO2 emissions by approximately 2,100 tons in the first year of operation, and approximately 52,000 tons over the expected 25-year life of the facility.

The new solar power generation plant will be capable of producing 1.3 megawatts (1.3 million watts) of solar power, allowing Husqvarna Group to increase its share of electricity from renewable sources of energy, and thus reduce the environmental impact of greenhouse gases and other emissions. Construction will begin in the third quarter of 2017 and is projected to be operational by the end of the year.

“Earlier this year, Husqvarna Group became the world’s first forest and garden company to have our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets approved by an independent initiative. Now, we will become the first company in our industry to build a solar power generating facility,” said Jim Moore, Vice President and General Manager of Sourcing, Operations, and Supply Chain for Husqvarna Group’s Consumer Brands Division. “It is important to demonstrate that we are serious and committed to contributing to a low-carbon future, and drive our industry to take action toward a more sustainable society. This new solar power plant will generate about 25 percent of the annual power required by our injection molding facility in Nashville.”

The solar-powered facility is part of Husqvarna Group’s sustainability journey, and the company’s commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions by a third by 2035. Husqvarna Group operates three facilities in the Nashville area. This newest solar generating system is scalable and has the potential to be expanded in the future.

 

Solar Power Spreads Rapidly Across South Arkansas

Solar Power Spreads Rapidly Across South Arkansas

Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation, Inc. (OECC) and Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI), a fully owned subsidiary of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, dedicated south Arkansas’s first community solar field, a Solar Test Facility at Southern Arkansas University Tech, and entered into an agreement with South Arkansas Telephone Company (SATCO) to install a 120 kW solar array near their facility in Hampton, AR as part of OECC’s annual meeting on June 22, 2017.

Today's Power Looks Ahead

SOURCE: Arkansas Business

SOURCE: Arkansas Business

Today's Power Looks Ahead

Today's Power, Inc. is lining up tomorrow's business, though it's not quite ready to name names.

This Little Rock subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. is branching out from the utility-scale solar installation work it has been doing exclusively for the state's electric power cooperatives.  After completing eight co-op solar arrays, including a 1-megawatt facility for First  Electric Cooperative Corp. in Benton that was dedicated last week, the 2-year-old company is marketing "ground-mount solar kits for home and business on its website.  

Even as it completes a 1-megawatt facility for Ouachita Electric Cooperative near Bearden, Today's Power is on the cusp of starting more project with private companies.  It also hopes to extend its footprint beyond Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.  

"We're looking to expand, and I'm not at liberty to get into details, but many of the organizations looking to us for solar right now are here in Arkansas," said Chris Burnley, TPI's director of business development and marketing.  Other prospects include electric coops in other states following Arkansas' lead.

Burnley, who was an area sales manager for GE Appliances before joining Today's Power about a year ago, has a vision of building solar arrays for out-of-state electric cooperatives and private businesses eager to harness the power of the sun as solar units become more affordable.

"I'm flying out to South Dakota soon to meet with CEOs of the electric cooperatives out there," Burnley said.  "It's not really a sales pitch, but more of an educational trip to let them know what we've been able to achieve here."

 

Story by Kyle Massey

Bird Friendly Solar.

Tri-County Electric Cooperative has been a Today's Power Partner since 2015 when we installed a 1 MW Community Solar Array at their headquarters in Hooker, Oklahoma.  As a turn-key partner, the Today's Power team has made several trips to their array to maintain high-quality production, and what we have found out is that low-voltage solar means a place to start a family for  the local doves.  

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Today's Power Project Foreman, Robbie Berry, encountered these baby doves face-to-face while checking the inverters on TCEC's one Megawatt project while visiting this May and said, "they are poor looking little things when they are first born, but right from the hatch, they were VERY interested in what I was doing!"  

Is Solar Safe for Birds?

YES!  Birds are very adaptable creatures who will react quickly to climate change.  For example,  we're seeing evidence of this in response to the changing climate. Carolina Wrens, Northern Mockingbirds, and Tufted Titmice are creeping into the Midwest. Caspian Terns are nesting at Cape Krusenstern National Monument in Alaska, nearly 1,000 miles farther north than previously recorded. Horned Puffins are following food farther north into Arctic waters than ever before, where they’re evicting Black Guillemots from their burrows and devouring eggs and chicks.

Cutting carbon pollution is ESSENTIAL to avoid impacting the lives of birds and other wildlife, for climate change will threaten more than 300 species of birds in North America alone.  

SOURCE: http://www.audubon.org/news/can-solar-plants-make-good-bird-habitat

SOURCE: http://www.audubon.org/news/can-solar-plants-make-good-bird-habitat

In 2016, a Minnesota bill was penned to encourage the planting of native grasses and wildflowers in and around new solar PV facilities. That way the projects not only provide clean energy, but also support pollinators like hummingbirds, bees, and monarch butterflies. (Many pollinators have declined in recent years from habitat loss, pesticides, pathogens, and other factors.) The extra habitat would also help grassland birds that feed on insects, such as Eastern Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows, both of which are imperiled in the state.

A Giant Switch Is Thrown, And Solar Power Flows in Benton

Story by Kyle Massey - Arkansas Business Publishing Group

Members of the FECC Board at the 1 MW Solar Field

Members of the FECC Board at the 1 MW Solar Field

After commissioning a five-acre sun farm for First Electric Cooperative in Benton on a bright and warm Wednesday morning, Chris Burnley said he's been on a "solar coaster" ride.

Burnley, the business development and marketing chief for Today's Power Inc., which installed the one-megawatt Benton array, didn't coin the term. But Arkansas Electric Cooperatives CEO Duane Highley underlined his point: "One megawatt of solar energy is added every 36 minutes" in the United States, he told the dignitaries in attendance.

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Burnley and Matt Irving, Today's Power's director of operations, said the company has been on a frenzied pace through its two years of existence as a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. of Little Rock. Wednesday's dedication of the one-megawatt field in Benton was the eighth project Burnley's colleagues have finished, and another array near Bearden is nearly complete. That one-megawatt field, Ouachita Electric Cooperative, is expected to go online in June.

"We have other projects underway, and more in the planning stages," Burnley said. "The changes are coming fast in the solar industry and prices are dropping."

Members of First Electric Cooperative Corp.'s board of directors were on hand to throw a large symbolic switch to "turn on" the 3,840 durable photovoltaic panels a short walk from First Electric's Congo Operations Center on Old Congo Road. But the solar field, which at peak production times can power 100 to 125 homes, had been in operation for more than a week. It is expected to generate nearly 48 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy over 25 years, and the panels are built to withstand golf-ball size hail.

Burnley climbed onto one of the panels and practically did a tap-dance. "These are sturdy, safe to touch, and built to last," he said, climbing down. "There are different ways that the 17 distributive electric cooperatives in the state are offering solar power to its members. Some are offering a members a chance to buy the power from specific solar panels, but First Electric is putting this power onto the grid for all of the 92,000 homes and businesses it serves in 18 counties of central and southeast Arkansas."

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Burnley said Irving deserves great credit for the project's success. "He put in tons of the blood, sweat, and tears for this project to make deadline."

"First Electric is dedicated to providing our members with safe, reliable electricity in a cost-effective manner," said Don Crabbe, CEO and president of FECC, which is based in Jacksonville. "Our board works to meet the needs of our membership both today and in the future. Our members will all share in the benefits from the renewable energy produced by this solar field."

The co-op also hopes to use it as an educational site for youth groups and school field trips. 

The array captures the sun's rays when they beam down directly on the photovoltaic panels and when they bounce off reflective panels opposite the ones that generate electricity. "The solar panels face west, while the reflector panels face east," Irving said. "The system follows the load curve of the cooperatives."

A crew of nine workers from Today's Power were among about 20 who spent about three months putting up the array, which makes use of cinderblock ballast to stay in place. "Considering engineering work and all, there may have been 50 people who worked in construction of the project," Burnley said. Today's Power now has projects in Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma, and the company is in growth mode, Burnley said.

"I'm flying out to South Dakota in a couple of weeks to talk to the CEOs of the electric co-ops there," Burnley said. "It's not really a sales pitch, but more like an educational session to let them know what we've been doing with solar around here. Since I started at Today's Power about a year ago, I've been pushing for us to extend our boundaries and work well beyond Arkansas."

On Wednesday, fittingly, the whole Today's Power team was wearing shades, including company President Michael W. Henderson, who is also executive vice president and CFO at Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.

Michael Henderson, Chris Burnley, Jennah Denney, and Matt Irving

Michael Henderson, Chris Burnley, Jennah Denney, and Matt Irving

Along with Crabbe and Harry Hamlin, attorney for the board, FECC directors in attendance were Tracy Hudspeth of Drasco; Larry Wood of Lonoke; David Luebke of Scott; Tom Hasty Jr. of Almyra; Rick Love of Jacksonville; Karissa Rushing of Benton; Jimmie Crockett of Rose Bud; Robert Maertens of Benton; and Robert Hill of Perryville.

Back row, left to right: Harry Hamlin, attorney for the board; Don Crabbe, president and CEO; Tracy Hudspeth, Drasco; Larry Wood, vice chairman, Lonoke; David Luebke, Scott; and Tom Hasty Jr., Almyra. Front row, left to right: Rick Love, Jacksonville; Karissa Rushing, Benton; Jimmie Crockett, Rose Bud; Robert Maertens, secretary-treasurer, Benton; and Robert Hill, chairman, Perryville. (First Electric Cooperative)

Back row, left to right: Harry Hamlin, attorney for the board; Don Crabbe, president and CEO; Tracy Hudspeth, Drasco; Larry Wood, vice chairman, Lonoke; David Luebke, Scott; and Tom Hasty Jr., Almyra. Front row, left to right: Rick Love, Jacksonville; Karissa Rushing, Benton; Jimmie Crockett, Rose Bud; Robert Maertens, secretary-treasurer, Benton; and Robert Hill, chairman, Perryville. (First Electric Cooperative)

First Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Today’s Power, Inc. to dedicate one-megawatt solar field in Benton

First Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Today’s Power, Inc. to dedicate one-megawatt solar field in Benton

Jacksonville, Ark., May 31, 2017 – First Electric Cooperatives Corporation, Inc. (FECC) of Jacksonville and Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), will dedicate a one-megawatt solar field on May 31.

BACK ROW (Left to right): Harry Hamlin, attorney for the board, Don Crabbe, President/Chief Executive Officer, Tracy Hudspeth, Drasco, Larry Wood, Vice-Chairman, Lonoke, David Luebke, Scott, Tom Hasty Jr., Almyra.  FRONT ROW (Left to right): Rick Love, Jacksonville, Karissa Rushing, Benton, Jimmie Crockett, Rose Bud, Robert Maertens, Secretary-Treasurer, Benton, Robert Hill, Chairman, Perryville

BACK ROW (Left to right): Harry Hamlin, attorney for the board, Don Crabbe, President/Chief Executive Officer, Tracy Hudspeth, Drasco, Larry Wood, Vice-Chairman, Lonoke, David Luebke, Scott, Tom Hasty Jr., Almyra.  FRONT ROW (Left to right): Rick Love, Jacksonville, Karissa Rushing, Benton, Jimmie Crockett, Rose Bud, Robert Maertens, Secretary-Treasurer, Benton, Robert Hill, Chairman, Perryville

“First Electric provides our members with safe, reliable electricity in a cost-effective manner,” said Don Crabbe, CEO/president of FECC. “Our board works to meet the needs of our membership both today and in the future. All of our members will share in the benefits from the renewable energy produced by the solar field.”

According to Michael Henderson, president of TPI, the photovoltaic solar field, maximizes economic and operational efficiencies based on FECC’s load profile, wholesale power supply billing, strategic goals, and other factors.

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“The TPI solar offering provides maximum energy density and requires approximately 40 percent less space than traditional systems,” he said. “First Electric’s solar field is projected to generate 47,651,737 kilowatt hours of non-emitting energy over its 25-year useful life.”

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, and provides utilities, commercial operations, and homeowners with reliable solar solutions.

Representatives from the Today's Power team at the dedication for First Electric's 1 MW Solar Field. (Left to Right:  Michael Henderson, Chris Burnley, Jennah Denney and Matt Irving. 

Representatives from the Today's Power team at the dedication for First Electric's 1 MW Solar Field. (Left to Right:  Michael Henderson, Chris Burnley, Jennah Denney and Matt Irving. 

Employees of First Electric Cooperative

Employees of First Electric Cooperative

First Electric serves more than 92,000 active accounts throughout 18 counties in central and southeast Arkansas. The cooperative’s headquarters is in Jacksonville with full-service offices in Benton, Heber Springs, Perryville and Stuttgart. For more information, call 800-489-7405 or visit www.firstelectric.coop or www.facebook.com/FirstElectric.

For additional information, contact:

Jennah Denney                                                         

Today’s Power, Inc.

(501) 400-548 or  jdenney@todayspower.com                  

www.todayspower.com                                                    

 

Cooperative Solar: FreeState Electric Cooperative

Cooperative Solar: FreeState Electric Cooperative

No matter what their size, circumstances or geographic location, all electric co-ops have one thing in common when it comes to solar: they want to help their members make energy choices that are right for them.