Multi-Industry Solar Park Flips the Switch



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Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Today’s Power Inc. (TPI), in collaboration with the city of Springdale, Elkins Public Schools, Lincoln Public Schools, OzarksGo and the city of Lincoln, have completed and dedicated a 2.7-megawatt (MW) Ozarks Natural Energy solar park on 25 acres of land at 11114 Wedington Blacktop Road in Lincoln, Arkansas. This multi-industry solar park project is expected to produce over 4 million kilowatt-hours in its first year of service. It will also include approximately 7 megawatts of energy storage that Ozarks Electric will use to reduce wholesale demand charges.

The Ozarks Natural Energy solar park will allow the city of Springdale, Elkins Public Schools, Lincoln Public Schools, the city of Lincoln and OzarksGo to receive the financial benefits of solar power by using a third-party leasing mechanism with an integrated land acquisition approach. The collaboration with Today’s Power allows Ozarks to optimize its grid and substations by strategically placing the solar park in an area to assist in load management to the substation. The solar park is estimated to save the participating entities more than $3 million over 20 years.

“We are excited to have a cost-effective solution that lets us participate in renewable energy. Our city often looks for ways to be good stewards of what we have been given,” said Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse.

The City of Springdale will benefit from new laws that made solar energy advantageous to municipalities. Each participant in the solar park will use separate metering to allow the energy produced to be credited to each customer under a solar power service agreement.



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“Ozarks Electric continues to view itself as our members’ trusted energy advisor,” said Mitchell Johnson, president and CEO of Ozarks Electric. “We are able to offer these types of solutions working with preferred vendors like Today’s Power.”

Jeremy Mangrum, superintendent of Elkins Public Schools, said the district is projecting annual savings of $50,000 to $60,000 from the solar park.”

“This partnership will be great for our District,” Mangrum said. “Fiscal responsibility is very important in Elkins School District, and this seemed like a great investment.”

Mary Ann Spears, superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools, said that even though the district had not been looking at solar, she was surprised and excited to find out that the school district could save significantly by participating in the solar project. The districts also plans to use the site for student field trips and teaching opportunities.

Steve Bandy, general manager of OzarksGo, said he was proud to partner with Today’s Power and Ozarks Electric to power OzarksGo’s growing network using sustainable power sources.

“This projects puts OzarksGo at the forefront of the telecommuications industry in utilizing renewable energy,” Bandy said. “The project also creates additional cost savings to aid in providing low-cost internet, television and phone services to our customers.” As technology and innovation in the electric utility industry continue to change and grow, Ozarks Electric believes that renewable energy will be a need and want in its members’ everyday lives and is working to help provide those solutions to businesses and individuals.



“I cannot express how excited I am to see different entities working together to create value for their students, citizens and customers. Every project participant is focused on service and improving the quality of life for their constituents. It feels more like a life mission than a business project that saves money for the entities,” said Michael Henderson, president of Today”s Power. “It is truly an honor to partner with each entity.”



ABOUT

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. Ozarks Electric operates a 1-megawatt community solar facility called Ozarks Natural Energy, with shares available to members. For more information about Ozarks Electric, visit

www.ozarksecc.com.

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. For more information about Today’s Power, visit www.todayspower.com.