Delta Farms, Inc., Southland Gin, Inc., Craighead Electric Cooperative Corp., and Today’s Power, Inc. partner to build 2 MW of dual technology solar with on-site battery storage
Southland Gin, Delta Farms, Craighead Electric Cooperative and Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI) are partnering to develop the first farm energy project pairing two different solar technologies plus battery storage in Arkansas. The project will provide clean energy for the two facilities, which will result in energy and operations savings for over 20 years.
The entire project, made up of three separate systems, will operate on 14.59 acres of land in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
The plans for this project started when Delta Farms reached out to TPI requesting an analysis to determine if solar was right for them. TPI staff presented the analysis to Delta Farm owners, and the next week Southland Gin requested a similar analysis of their bills.
The result was cost savings for both entities and a unique design that provides benefits to all parties. Craighead Electric saw this opportunity to help one cooperative member meet its goal while achieving the goals of providing the lowest cost power to all Craighead Electric members.
“Our mission with solar has been to make a profitable and reliable investment”, said Len B. Nall with Delta Farms, Inc., “all the while reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact.”
“To achieve a project of this size, great vision, leadership and teamwork are required.” said Michael Henderson, President of TPI. “Special recognition needs to be given to these leaders specifically Len Nall, Gregg Garner and Ted Qualls as well as Brian Duncan, CEO of Craighead Electric Cooperative,” he added.
Unlike any other project in the state, this project is to include two types of solar technology and on-site battery storage. The capacity of the entire system at both locations totals 2 megawatts of solar power generation and 6 megawatt-hours of battery storage.
Delta Farms will purchase, and own the 1.2 megawatt fixed-tilt system, while TPI will own the single-axis tracking solar and battery energy storage systems and will operate both systems. The output of the 882-kilowatt tracking system will be leased to Southland Gin from TPI, which was made possible through Act 464, passed this year by the Arkansas General Assembly. When electricity generated by the arrays exceeds demand, the electricity will be net metered to the Craighead Electric system or saved in on-site battery storage systems. The batteries will enable Craighead Electric to draw electricity stored in the batteries during peak use periods instead of having to purchase electricity to meet demand.
“It’s exciting to see a project like this that benefits all members of Craighead Electric. The idea of storing power to use whenever you need it is an industry changing technology,” says Brian Duncan, CEO of Craighead Electric. “At Craighead Electric Cooperative, we work together to enhance our members’ value, whether it be through renewable power resources or high-speed broadband internet. This initiative is an example of how utilities and major energy users, through creativity and partnership, are meeting the needs of the future.”
Civil construction started in late November. System construction will begin in December, with commissioning to begin in February.
The project is expected to be completed in March of 2020. Operations will begin shortly thereafter.