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Ozarks Electric to Build Solar Generation Facility in Springdale

2 min read

Ozarks Electric will soon begin building of a one-megawatt solar generation facility in Springdale, the company announced on Wednesday.

It will be the first utility-scale, member-owned solar power generation facility in Arkansas and contain about 3,927 panels across five acres of land in east Springdale. One megawatt of energy will power 100-150 homes, according to Alyssa Roberts, vice president of marketing and member relations.

“We survey our membership regularly, and overwhelmingly there was a lot of support for renewable and specifically solar energy,” Roberts told Arkansas Business. “Ozarks as a whole has been a very progressive company so this is just the natural next step. I think it fits right in line with Arkansas — we’re the Natural State. It makes sense that we would explore using our natural resources.” 

Roberts said the groundwork for the construction will begin within the next few weeks, but the company won’t be installing panels for a couple of months. The facility should be fully operational by March 2016.

“We strongly believe that this groundbreaking facility will create a positive impact, both environmentally and financially, for our members and our community,” Mitchell Johnson, president and CEO of Ozarks Electric, said in a news release. “We know that our members are interested in renewable energy and we want to be able to offer solutions and programs to meet their needs. I am really excited about the possibilities this innovative facility provides.”

Information regarding use of the facility has yet to be announced. Ozarks Electric said it will release more details about future programs or offerings later.

Other areas of the state are seeing activity by the solar power industry.

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

The cooperative said the 100-acre field will be built and managed by Silicon Ranch Corp. of Nashville, Tennessee. The field is expected to be complete late this year.

And in April, Entergy Arkansas announced it is seeking approval from the state Public Service Commission to build an 81-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy plant in Arkansas County.

That plant, which would cover nearly 500 acres, is expected to be connected to the utility’s grid by mid-2019. It would be the state’s largest solar power plant. Entergy Arkansas plans a new substation to connect the the facility to the transmission system.

Entergy said the plant would be capable of generating enough energy to power about 13,000 homes.

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