Hampton Schools Go Solar With Today's Power Array


Hampton Schools Go Solar With Today's Power Array
Hampton Schools Superintendent Doug Worley, left, and Ouachita Electric CEO and General Manager Mark Cayce, gesture after flipping a large display switch Wednesday to signify that the school district's new solar array is operable. (Jennah Denney/Today's Power)

The Hampton School District (Calhoun County) has a new solar power project thanks to Today’s Power Inc. of North Little Rock and a closer neighbor, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden.

The 600-student district commissioned a 720-kilowatt solar array on campus near the football field on Wednesday. “It is an exciting week for solar power in Arkansas,” TPI marketing and public relations coordinator Jennah Denney said, hinting at more south Arkansas projects to come.

The 2,000-panel array was designed to supply more than 90% of the Hampton campus’ electricity needs. Ouachita Electric will provide the other 10% or so.

The project began with the Hampton School Board seeking lower energy costs, according to Superintendent Doug Worley, who reached out to his local utility, OECC.

“Our goal at OECC is to help our members receive the lowest cost, most sustainable and most efficient energy available,” said Mark Cayce, the CEO and General Manager of Ouachita Electric. The cooperative evaluated school district facilities and suggested solar power, Cayce said. In April, the district offered a public request for proposals from qualified solar venders, and eventually chose the bid by Today’s Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., the Little Rock utility service cooperative owned by the power distribution co-ops in Arkansas.

The school system will attain the electricity through a power purchase agreement with TPI, which will own and maintain the array.

“We are excited to partner with Hampton Schools as they fulfill their mission” said Michael Henderson, president of Today’s Power. “Embracing leading-edge

technology so all of their students receive benefits of lower costs and contributing to a cleaner environment is sending the right message to the over 600 students they represent,” he added.

TPI offers turn-key solar photovoltaic systems, energy storage, electric vehicles and charging stations for various size clients.

The Hampton district, covering more than 475 square miles of land, is the only public district in Calhoun County. Hampton is 30 miles north of El Dorado and 25 miles east of Camden. The district employs about 100 faculty and staff members. Ouachita Electric has a district office in Hampton.