Concord Public Schools celebrated their new solar power source on Jan. 22 with a switch-flipping ceremony at the new 341-kilowatt sun array built by Entegrity of Little Rock.
The system, on a fixed-tilt design covering three acres of school district land, is expected to save the schools $17,000 a year in energy expenses by leveraging third-party financing and federal investment tax credits, school and company officials said.
The power savings will be invested in other budget items for wiser use of taxpayer money, a result that drew applause from State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, who represents Concord (Cleburne County). Irvin, as pointed out in an Entegrity news release, voted in support of the Solar Access Act of 2019, legislation that let public entities contract for low-cost solar power via third-party ownership, net metering and grandfathering of certain rates.
“I am thrilled to see the effects in my own backyard,” Irvin said, noting that Concord’s schools were among the first in the state to seize on the new law and go solar.
“By supporting solar development through legislation, these financial tools become more readily available to state agencies and Arkansas consumers,” Irvin continued, “allowing them to take charge of their expenses and capitalize on the benefits of solar.”
Concord School District Superintendent Kenneth Moore, said the district was happy to gain efficiency and save money. “Taking advantage of the Solar Act was a no brainer for school district leadership,” Moore said in a statement. “This is a real commitment to the future of our community, facility, staff, and students.”
State Sen. David Wallace, the solar act’s sponsor, said he was particularly pleased to see a small school like Concord benefit. The district has about 460 students.
“When Concord Public Schools was presented the opportunity to reduce facility costs and improve the future for their students, they took it,” Rick Vance, Integrity’s Regional Director, said in a statement. “Dr. Moore saw the value in this venture for the school and timed it perfectly with the new act to have the greatest impact on the district’s finances. Entegrity is honored to have helped Concord School District become one of the first in the state to leverage this new financial tool.”