Scenic Hill Solar of Little Rock and Clarksville’s city-owned utility have partnered to build the largest municipal power source in Arkansas using renewable energy, a $10 million solar project expected to be completed by next summer.
Scenic Hill, which has done recent multimillion-dollar solar projects for L’Oreal in North Little Rock and Kentucky, will pay to build and operate the array for Clarksville Light & Water Co., and the utility will buy the electricity it produces under a 30-year power-purchase agreement. The project is expected to save Clarksville Light consumers $500,000 a year, according to John Lester, the utility’s general manager.
The 20,000-module array, covering 42 acres bordered by Main Street and Clark Road, will be the state’s third largest solar power plant and will have a capacity of 6.5 megawatts of direct current, 5 megawatts of alternating current.
Lester and Bill Halter, Scenic Hill’s CEO, said the project is structured to provide the most benefit to all concerned.
“This is the wonderful thing,” Lester told Arkansas Business. “Each party maximizes its benefit. Clarksville Light & Water is buying the property, and as a nonprofit city utility we are exempt from property taxes. Bill’s investors are providing the capital to build and operate the plant, and as a for-profit company they can take advantage of federal solar tax incentives that we could not as a nonprofit.”
Under the 30-year deal, Clarksville Light will pay 5.8 cents per kilowatt for the electricity, and the array will provide more than 25 percent of Clarksville’s residential power. The utility serves about 4,500 customers, including major commercial and industrial clients…
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