For Immediate Release
June 17, 2016
Contact: Peter Nierengarten
Sustainability and Parking Director
City Purchases Solar Energy from Ozarks Electric Cooperative
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The City of Fayetteville is pleased to announce that City Council approved the purchase of 100 shares of solar energy from Ozarks Electric Cooperative, a member-owned electric cooperative providing non-profit electrical service in throughout Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas, including parts of Fayetteville.
Ozarks Natural Energy is a one megawatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array that was recently constructed on a five-acre site along Highway 412, just east of Springdale. The facility’s 4,080 solar panels are expected to generate more than two million kilowatt hours (kWh) every year – enough electricity to power up to 150-200 homes on a daily basis.
Each of the 4,080 panels is considered a share and are available for purchase by Ozarks Electric members at a cost of $340 per share. Members who sign up and purchase shares during the first year will receive bill credit for up to 25 years (the life of a solar panel).
Each share represents a unique 400-watt solar panel that is owned by the member. Electricity produced by the City’s 100 purchased panels will be credited to the City’s account at a rate of $0.04/kWh for 2016. This rate will be adjusted annually based on the wholesale cost of electricity. Ozarks Electric provides all the operations, maintenance, and repairs for the panels and provides insurance coverage in the event that the array or any associated equipment is damaged.
The initial $34,000 cost has a projected payback of eight years. Direct electricity savings over the 25-year life of the agreement are projected to be over $75,000. Fayetteville’s 100 panels will generate approximately 54,000 kWh of electricity per year which will triple the amount of electricity that the City currently receives from renewable sources. The electrons generated by these solar panels will offset approximately 20% of the electricity used at Fayetteville’s new Regional Park set to open later this year and will save the City over $2,100 in electricity costs during this first year. This project supports continued renewable energy market transformation, saves taxpayer money, and will help protect Fayetteville from the uncertainty of rising energy costs over the 25-year life of the project.
To learn more about the program, visit this website.