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"Flip the Switch" Event
September 19, 2018
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Craighead Electric Cooperative to Build Solar Array and Pollinator/Quail Habitat with Today’s Power, Inc.
CEC Builds 1 MW Solar System in Brookland
Jonesboro, AR. — August 16, 2018 — Craighead Electric Cooperative Corporation (CECC) headquartered in Jonesboro reached an agreement with Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI) to begin construction of a 1-megawatt solar array in Brookland, AR.
This project is among the most advanced systems in the country and will involve a single-axis tracking array of 3,888 panels that will encompass eight acres of an 11-acre site. The output of the energy produced by the array is projected to provide for the power needs of up to 135 homes at peak production.
The solar facility will provide local generation for CECC members. CECC provides electric service to approximately 30,354 members across Craighead, Crittenden, Greene, Independence, Lawrence, Poinsett, Randolph, and Sharp counties.
In addition, this partnership between Craighead Electric, Today’s Power, the City of Brookland and Quail Forever will not only provide renewable energy to northeast Arkansas, but also provide habitat important to pollinators and wildlife within the region. This habitat management plan's goal will be to ensure perpetual pollinator habitat for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects that are dwindling from the landscape, as well as other wildlife like cottontail rabbits, bobwhite quail, and Neotropical grassland songbirds.
“I grew up on Craighead Electric’s lines and am proud to be a part of Craighead Electric’s commitment to be the leader in offering affordable, safe and responsible energy to its members. The Craighead Electric Board of Directors and management emphasized that their members must receive economic as well as environmental benefit and this solar system accomplishes both,” said Michael Henderson, President of TPI. “CECC has proven they really want to improve the lives of their members by providing clean, low-cost renewable energy and helping provide internet services to their members who currently have no options. They are an awesome service oriented cooperative.,” said Henderson.
This is the 18th project that TPI has developed, with most in the 1 MW range, as the result of a utility partnership in the state of Arkansas. “We have five more in the planning stage that will be announced soon. Solar and storage is the future of cooperatives,” says Henderson.”
“Our solar systems are customized around a utilities’ wholesale billing drivers and load characteristics specifically to produce maximum value for the customer,” said Henderson,
According to Craighead Electric CEO Brian Duncan, the cooperative chose to partner with TPI because of the reliability that has been demonstrated over the last four years to meet the energy needs of other electric cooperatives in Arkansas.
“Partnering with local communities, such as Brookland, to bring utility-scale solar to our service territory and demonstrating the feasibility and affordability of using solar power in Arkansas is just part of providing concern for community and more value to be a cooperative member,” said Duncan.
Duncan went on to say, “This project shows Craighead Electrics’ commitment to providing a low-cost source of energy to our membership and it further shows how serious we are about being environmentally responsible by using a renewable fuel source to generate power.”
Kenneth Jones, Mayor of the City of Brookland, who was instrumental in helping find a suitable location for the solar generating facility said, “We appreciate the partnership between Craighead Electric Co-op and the City of Brookland. “Our town is one of the fastest growing towns in Arkansas and having a cutting edge, renewable source of energy available will enhance our ability to attract more retail businesses to Brookland.”
Another partner in the project is The Northeast Arkansas Chapter of Quail Forever. The Quail Forever Chapter will be providing wildflower and native warm season grass seed, coordinating procurement of planting equipment, providing volunteer planting labor, and involving a youth group like Boy Scouts of America or local school Agri-program during the establishment and monitoring process as part of the QF youth pollinator habitat program. Quail Forever will also provide a management plan for the utility's maintenance and operations program.
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.
Frequent Asked Questions
In general conversation photovoltaic often used to refer to solar energy technology. Specifically photovoltaic is the technology which uses silicon crystals and wire conductors to generate solar power. These crystals and wire are strung together into solar panels, which are then strung together to generate the desired amount of wattage. PV is the industry acronym.
Solar panels absorb the sun's energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.
The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night.
This particular system is sized at 1 Megawatt and generates 1,922,802 kWh’s a year. The output of the energy produced by the array is projected to provide for the power needs of up to 135 homes at peak production.
This project is among the most advanced systems in the country and will involve a single-axis tracking array of 3,888 panels that will encompass eight acres of the 11-acre site.
Definitely! Going solar will demonstrate that your cooperative is committed to environmental responsibility. Consumers are increasingly demanding that the companies they do business with engage in sustainable business practices. Many large American companies have answered that call, and regionally, conscious storage facilities, retailers, grocery stores, water districts, art studios and small businesses have gone solar to show their commitment.
Solar power, like other renewable energy resources, has many environmental and health benefits. Going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.
Assuming high quality modules and proper maintenance, the life of a PV system should be 30 years or more. However, the efficiency of the panels will slowly degrade over time. PV modules typically have a warranty for 25 years to 80% of original output. However, they will continue to provide power for many years after that.