On February 9, 2022, Ozarks Electric Cooperative, Springdale Public Schools, and Today’s Power, Inc. (Today’s Power) broke ground on a new 2.38 megawatt (MW) solar project near Sonora Middle School in Springdale, Arkansas. This project also contains 6.9 MW of battery storage to be used by 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. The project is intended to offset roughly 95% 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 this year.
“Working with the local schools to improve their renewable energy portfolio aligns perfectly with our mission and values,” said Mitchell Johnson, president and CEO of Ozarks Electric. “This is just one example of how we seek new solutions for our members in an effort to provide more sustainable and energy efficient services.”
The solar project will be built on property owned by Springdale Public Schools. It is estimated to save the schools approximately $2.6 million over the next 25 years.
“We are thankful to Mitchell Johnson 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.
“Strategic placement and utilization of battery storage through the tri-lateral partnership of Springdale Schools, Today’s Power and Ozarks Electric creates an opportunity to save approximately $2.3 million for our members over the next 25 years,” Johnson said.
“Today’s Power is committed to bringing renewable energy projects that contribute to the reliability, sustainability and energy savings objectives of all communities. We have a special focus on rural sites operated by cooperatives, public power, municipalities, including education institutions,” said Derek Dyson, CEO/President of Today’s Power. “Through this project, Today’s Power will improve the reliability needs of Ozarks Electric, while also lowering the energy cost of both Ozarks Electric and Springdale Public Schools. As the entity that will install, own, operate and maintain the solar project, Today’s Power is honored to work with Ozarks Electric and Springdale Public Schools to meet their renewable energy needs.”
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. 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. For more information about Ozarks Electric, visit www.ozarksecc.com.
Springdale Public Schools has 31 campuses in Washington County and an enrollment of approximately 23,000 students in pre-kindergarten through the twelfth grade. For more information about Springdale Public Schools, visit www.sdale.org.
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. For more information about Today’s Power, visit www.todayspower.com.