The North Little Rock Wastewater Utility has hooked up to its own solar power array, built by Scenic Hill Solar of Little Rock, and is poised to get about 20% of its electricity load from the 850-kilowatt plant.
Officials celebrated completion of the utility owned plant Wednesday, predicting it will produce 1.4 million kilowatts of electricity in its first year, and more than 40 million kilowatts over the next 30 years.
Michael Clayton, executive director of wastewater utility, called the project a "win-win" for the organization's budget and for the environment. "The utility is proud to be the sole owner of this power plant and to begin saving money on behalf of our ratepayers while promoting renewable energy," Clayton said in a statement.
Bill Halter, the former Arkansas lieutenant governor who is CEO of Scenic Hill, said the project "will lower the electric spend of the utility while providing a hedge against future electricity price increases."
The array comprises more than 2,000 solar modules using a single-axis tracking system, and it's projected to reduce carbon emissions by 28,000 metric tons, the equivalent of 70 million passenger car miles or the impact of burning 31 million pounds of coal.
The wastewater utility provides sanitary sewer service to 100,000 Arkansans in Pulaski County, including residents of North Little Rock, Sherwood and Maumelle.