Pulaski County is basking in the prospects for a solar project at the Little Rock Port that’s projected to save county taxpayers about $25,000 a year. A groundbreaking for the 4.7-megawatt sun array, a partnership with Today’s Power Inc. of North Little Rock, was held Nov. 1.
The project, long a goal of County Judge Barry Hyde and County Attorney Adam Fogleman, is expected to be completed next year, and in conjunction with another solar site at the Pulaski County Detention Center should supply close to 90% of county government’s electricity needs.
And county officials proclaimed the transition to clean, renewable energy will cost the county nothing under the terms of a solar service agreement with TPI, a subsidiary of the state’s electric cooperatives.
Under the deal, the county will purchase all the electricity generated, and the two sites will save the county about a quarter-million dollars per year, calculating from current power costs.
Hyde, TPI Chief Executive Officer Derek Dyson and Port of Little Rock Executive Director Bryan Day were on hand at the groundbreaking. Hyde credited Fogleman and offered thanks to Today’s Power for its patience as the county navigated “red tape” to birth the project.
Dyson explained that Today’s Power had to work closely with Entergy, the state’s largest power company and an investor-owned utility, to get the project off the ground.
“We’re really proud of that working relationship with [Entergy], but it did take some time to get over some hurdles and progressive issues,” Dyson said, according to a Pulaski County news release. “We’re looking forward to having this project complete.”
Day said he expects economic development prospects to be impressed by prospects for renewable energy at the port. “When we get visits from corporate America or from other corporations around the country, they often ask ‘what are you doing for sustainability?’” he said. “What I’m going to be able to say now is ‘let me show you,’ and we’re going to be able to hop in the car [and] come over here and see this great asset.”
The solar array is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
“Having our site here at the Port is a testament to Pulaski County’s ability to be cutting edge in keeping up with the times,” Hyde said. “That is a benefit to all of Pulaski County.”