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AECC to Build 12-Megawatt Solar Field in East Camden

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Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. on Friday announced it has signed an agreement with a renewable energy provider to build a 12-megawatt solar field in East Camden.

The generation and transmission cooperative said the approximately 100-acre field will be the largest in Arkansas and be built and managed by Silicon Ranch Corporation of Nashville, Tennessee. The field is expected to be complete by late 2015.

“AECC is strongly committed to exploring all available power-generation options and partnerships in its mission to provide our members with reliable, affordable energy in a responsible manner,” said Duane Highley, president and chief executive officer of the cooperative, in a statement. “AECC is excited about pursuing innovative projects of this nature that will provide long-term benefits to its members.”

The cooperative is partnering with Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company based in Sacramento, which will purchase solar power from the field for its 1,200-acre facility in East Camden. The project is expected to power the company’s operations as well as 2,400 single-family homes.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne understands the importance of solar energy especially when it comes to clean air, the natural environment and economic growth,” said Chris Conley, vice president of Environmental, Health and Safety for the company, in a statement. “This agreement better positions our company to attain these objectives and is a critical step toward bringing more renewable energy to rural America. It will contribute to state and federal energy portfolio goals, as well as many of the economic challenges that face businesses.”

The Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation, which provided technical support for the project, distributes power to the industrial park where the field will be built. That power is provided by the AECC.

Mark Cayce, general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation, said in a statement that the project will enhance the cooperative’s programs.

“OECC’s and AECC’s partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne and Silicon Ranch is a means to bring new technology to south Arkansas while providing jobs, attracting new business and providing clean affordable energy for our members,” Cayce said.

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