FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fayetteville One Step Closer to 100% Clean Energy and Breaks Ground on Solar and Storage Project
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., March 4, 2019— The City of Fayetteville is collaborating with Ozarks Electric Cooperative
and Today's Power, Inc. (TPI)
on Arkansas’s largest solar power system on municipal land and the only one in the state with onsite utility-scale storage. The project will raise clean energy consumption by City facilities from 16 percent to 72 percent and save the city approximately $6 million over 20 years.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan, City Council Members, staff from the City of Fayetteville, leaders of Ozarks Electric Cooperative, and executives from Today’s Power, Inc. attended the groundbreaking today, March 4, in east Fayetteville.
The entire project, made up of three separate systems, will operate on Fayetteville’s two water treatment facility properties, the Paul R. Noland Wastewater Treatment Facility (east Fayetteville) and the Westside Water Treatment Facility, which are the City’s overall largest electricity consuming accounts.
“Climate change is a very serious threat and a significant economic opportunity for our City and our nation,” said Mayor Jordan. “Fayetteville is committed to combat climate change by supporting a low-carbon economy and creating good jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Through this important agreement with Today’s Power and Ozarks Electric, the Fayetteville community moves closer to several goals in our Energy Action Plan.”
The plans for this project started less than a year ago when the City of Fayetteville was approached by TPI, a solar developer that had previously constructed solar farms in the region. This inquiry ignited a robust collaboration with Ozarks Electric Cooperative, and local Representatives and Legislators, to determine pathways to this groundbreaking and unique project.
“A project of this magnitude requires great vision, leadership and collaboration to be successful,” said Michael Henderson, President of TPI. “We extend special recognition to Mayor Jordan and the Fayetteville City Council, Judge Wood and the Washington County Quorum Court, Ozarks Electric’s CEO Mitchell Johnson and board of directors, and all the teams for committing to the success of this project,” he added.
The capacity of the entire system at both locations totals 10 megawatts of solar power generation and 24 megawatt-hours of battery storage on a combined land mass of 87 acres. For maximum solar exposure, the arrays of solar photovoltaic panels will be installed on a sun tracking system that produces 15 percent more electricity than stationary mounts. When electricity generated by the arrays exceeds demand, the electricity will be net metered to the Ozarks Electric system or saved in on-site battery storage systems. The batteries will enable Ozarks Electric to draw electricity stored in the batteries during peak use periods instead of having to purchase electricity to meet demand.
“We continue to partner with the City of Fayetteville on many projects, and this one is the most exciting yet,” said Mitchell Johnson, president and CEO of Ozarks Electric. “Working together, we will help the city increase their resources for renewable energy and help the city reach the goals of their Energy Action Plan. This project is an example of how utilities and large-scale power consumers can meet the needs of the future through innovation and partnership.”
Ozarks Electric will upgrade and maintain existing electricity connections at the sites. TPI will own 99 percent of the solar systems, and Fayetteville will own 1 percent. TPI will own 100 percent of the storage systems and will operate both systems. Construction will begin in March, with generation to begin in June and storage completed in July. This will be a technology leading project in the entire mid-south.
“This project represents a win-win-win collaboration between Ozarks Electric, TPI, and the City that helps provide cost-effective energy security for the City of Fayetteville while also protecting our environment,” said Fayetteville Director of Sustainability, Peter Nierengarten.
This net metering facility must be approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) because it exceeds 300 kilowatts. “The APSC has been great to work with in projects like these that achieve so much value for Arkansans by providing clean energy, economic development and lowering electricity costs,” said Henderson.
Assuming no regulatory, review or equipment delays, the project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019. Operations will begin shortly thereafter.
Fayetteville’s Energy Action Plan (EAP) addresses local effects of climate change, energy efficiency efforts, and clean energy production. It is the first to be adopted in Arkansas and the 54th in the nation. For more information about the tri-lateral agreement, the solar power generation and battery storage project, or Fayetteville’s Energy Action Plan, please visit this webpage: www.fayetteville-ar.gov/energyactionplan. Ozarks Electric, incorporated in 1938, is a member-owned electric cooperative, serving more than 75,000 meters across nine counties in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma. Ozarks Electric operates a 1-megawatt solar facility called Ozarks Natural Energy, with shares available to members. For more information about Ozarks Electric, visit www.ozarksecc.com. Today’s Power, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. Today’s Power, Inc. offers turn-key solar photovoltaic systems, energy storage systems, electric vehicles and charging stations for all sizes and applications. www.todayspower.com For additional information, contact: Peter Nierengarten - Director, Sustainability Department - City of Fayetteville 479.575.8272 or firstname.lastname@example.org Jennah Denney, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator - Today’s Power, Inc., 501.400.5548 or email@example.com Ashley Harris - Vice President of Communications - Ozarks Electric Cooperative 479.684.4956 or firstname.lastname@example.org