In another school solar project coordinated with the Barnabas Team, a Bentonville consultancy, Today’s Power Inc. of North Little Rock broke ground June 17 on a solar power project in St. Joe to supply 80% of the electricity needs for the Ozark Mountain School District.
The 1,600-panel fixed-tilt array will supply a million kilowatt-hours of energy per year for the 700-student district, which comprises three K-12 campuses in north Arkansas: St. Joe, Bruno-Pyatt and Western Grove.
TPI will build, own and maintain the 625-kilowatt project, with the school system buying the electricity under a 20-year solar power services agreement.
The Barnabas Team worked with school officials through the request-for-proposals process, ensuring an efficient design and “very competitive long-term rates," officials said in a news release.
“Investing in solar is the most cost-effective way to support those who work and learn in Ozark Mountain Schools while also investing in a renewable, safe, and sustainable source of generation to keep our community natural,” Superintendent Kerry Saylors said in a statement, adding that his system will achieve steady and manageable power costs over the term of the contract.
TPI, founded by Arkansas’ rural electric cooperatives and wholly owned by Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., has installed more than 30 solar projects totaling more than 45 megawatts in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Tennessee over the past five years.
“We've been told for decades that switching to renewable energy isn't cost effective, but that is no longer the case,” said Michael Henderson, president of Today’s Power.
The array is expected to be completed before the end of this year.