Bank OZK of Little Rock will build a $6 million solar plant, the largest renewable energy investment by any Arkansas-based financial services company, according to Tim Hicks, the bank’s chief administrative officer and executive director of investor relations.
Hicks, who made the announcement in a news release Wednesday afternoon, said Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock will build the 4.8-megawatt DC array, which would be the third-largest commercial solar facility dedicated to a private-sector customer in Arkansas. The precise site hasn’t been disclosed, but company officials said it will be somewhere in central Arkansas.
“Bank OZK is pleased to be at the forefront of our industry as we invest significantly in environmentally responsible renewable energy to power our new headquarters in Little Rock and up to 40 more Bank OZK offices in Arkansas,” Hicks said in a statement. “We recognize the importance of investing in the environment and believe it will benefit our customers and our shareholders alike. This renewable energy resource is nonpolluting and will give our bank stable, predictable energy costs for decades to come.”
The project will include about 12,000 solar panels on a single-axis tracking system, expected to generate enough energy to power 1,000 homes for a year. The bank said its carbon footprint will fall by an estimated 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years, equivalent to the emissions of automobiles traveling 390 million miles.
Construction will begin early next year, pending approval of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. The bank said the facility should begin generating electricity about six months after all government approvals have been received.
The bank’s new corporate headquarters building is nearing completion on a newly developed 44-acre campus at The Ranch on Highway 10 in Little Rock. Upon its completion, a majority of the bank’s staff at the current headquarters will move to the new building. Occupancy of the new building is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020.