Craighead Electric Cooperative began construction of a 1-megawatt solar panel array in Brookland, Arkansas in August. A single-axis tracking array of 3,888 panels that will cover eight acres of an 11-acre site off Highway 230. The energy output of the array is projected to provide for the power needs of up to 135 homes. The project is a partnership between Craighead Electric, Today’s Power (TPI), the City of Brookland, and Quail Forever to provide renewable energy to northeast Arkansas and protect habitats important to pollinators and wildlife within the region.
This is the eighteenth project that TPI has developed in the state of Arkansas with others in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Colorado, and Tennessee. “Solar and Storage is really the future of energy in Arkansas, says Michael Henderson, President of TPI at the groundbreaking ceremony. “This solar array allows each solar string to independently track the sun and self-power each row with its own solar power cell. This system comes with three weather stations to ensure maximum performance. It’s truly a showplace for northeast Arkansas” he said. “I grew up on Craighead Electric’s lines and am proud to be a part of Craighead Electric’s commitment to being 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. This solar system accomplishes both,” said Henderson, “Craighead Electric 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.”
Craighead Electric Cooperative CEO Brian Duncan thanked the partners that came together to make this project possible, “Partnering with local communities, such as Brookland, to bring utility-scale solar to our service territory demonstrates the feasibility and affordability of using solar power in Arkansas. It’s just part of providing concern-for-0community and bringing additional value to cooperative membership,” Duncan went on to say, “This project shows Craighead Electric’s 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.”
Habitat Management was an important part of the planning and design process, to ensure habitat for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial pollinator insects that are dwindling from the landscape, as well as other wildlife like cottontail rabbits, bobwhite quail, and Neotropical grassland songbirds. The Northeast Arkansas Chapter of Quail Forever will be supporting the habitat management aspect of the project as part of the QF youth pollinator habitat program. During the establishment and monitoring process, they will provide wildflower and native warm-season grass seed, procure planting equipment, provide planting volunteers, and involve youth groups like Boy Scouts of America and local Agri-programs. Quail Forever will also provide a management plan for Craighead Electric’s maintenance and operations programs.
The solar array is expected to begin generating solar power by the end of September.
If your school, education, civic, etc. group or organization are interested in touring the Solar One facility please contact us.