Heather Nelson was on a roll Friday morning. The Seal Solar president and her partner, CEO and fellow co-founder Josh Davenport, were riding high a day after the North Little Rock company teamed up with Lexicon Inc. to unveil the state’s first solar array made with locally manufactured steel.
Nelson and Davenport were back in central Arkansas after appearing with a host of dignitaries and business leaders at Lexicon’s steel operation in Blytheville, showing off the new 1.5-megawatt array.
The 4,050-panel project is built on 550 piers made of Arkansas-produced steel, and — combined with a 6,500-module project under construction on Lexicon property in Carlisle — will offset about half of the steel fabricator’s total electricity demand.
Leaders on hand at the Blytheville event included U.S. Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford, as well as Patrick Schueck, president and CEO of Lexicon, which is based in Little Rock.
Executives from Nucor also attended; the steelmaking giant based in Charlotte, North Carolina, made the steel for the array’s piers at one of its Mississippi County operations.
“Several members of the Nucor team were there,” Nelson told Arkansas Business. “It’s the first solar project using Nucor-built steel, and it represents a growth opportunity for them. It was great to have three Arkansas companies coming together on this, and it’s a beautiful project.”
Schueck said the project, which involved a 110-person construction team from Seal Solar and LightWave Solar of Antioch, Tennessee, “epitomizes our strong commitment to excellence” and innovation.
“We are not only focused on building America,” Schueck said, “we are passionate about building the future.”
The Carlisle project, Nelson said, is expected to be completed in “the next couple of months,” but then must be interconnected with Entergy Arkansas’ grid. “The array at Carlisle will provide 100% of Lexicon’s power needs for its Little Rock operations,” she said.
Boozman, in remarks at the ceremony, praised the fact that “Arkansas companies are developing strategies and implementing new and innovative solutions that provide affordable energy.” He added that saving businesses money while using locally sourced steel sets an example for lifting the local economy.