Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock announced another solar power project for an Arkansas school system Monday morning, revealing plans for two photovoltaic arrays to completely offset the Stuttgart School District’s electricity demands.
A 200-kilowatt array will go up near the school district’s main campus, and a 1.3-megawatt single-axis tracking system is planned elsewhere in Stuttgart, population 9,000, the heart of Arkansas rice-growing country and home of the Stuttgart High School Ricebirds.
Together, the two solar plants will produce 2.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, allowing the school district to offset $7 million in electricity spending over the next 30 years, according to a Scenic Hill news release. Construction jobs will anchor a $2 million economic boon for the Stuttgart economy, including capital investment in the region. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of this year, and both plants are expected to be producing before the end of 2020.
"The array will be owned by Stuttgart School District, and Scenic Hill Solar will provide long-term Operation and Maintenance support under contract," Scenic Hill CEO Bill Halter told Arkansas Business.
“The Stuttgart School District is always looking for ways to invest in the educational experiences we offer our students,” district Superintendent Rick Gales said in a statement. “This partnership offers us the opportunity of utilizing new renewable energy technology, exposing our students to sustainability, and being a financial win for our school district as a whole. We believe it is the right example for students to see us supporting the environment that has supported this farming community for so many decades.”
Halter, a former Arkansas lieutenant governor, praised Stuttgart for embracing solar power “for its financial benefits and now for its educational benefits as well,” he said in a news release. “We look forward to constructing two world-class solar power plants that will provide clean electricity for Stuttgart for generations.”
The two arrays will encompass 3,700 solar panels and produce enough power to satisfy 100 percent of the school system’s power needs, according to Scenic Hill. The company provides commercial, industrial, government and utility clients with clean electricity options.