By Talk Buisness & Politics staff
Solar power developer Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock recently completed a 360-kilowatt solar power plant for telecommunications provider Arkwest Communications in Danville. The plant is the largest solar facility in Yell County and the first remote net-metering plant in Arkansas that will meet nearly all of Arkwest’s electricity demand, according to a news release.
The plant will provide solar energy to 24 meters for Arkwest. Work on the plant started in January and was completed on time and under budget.
“Arkwest Communications strives to be a good steward of the environment and a leader in technology advances,” said PT Sanders, president of Arkwest Communications. “With this new solar power plant, we are able to meet that goal while saving money on our electricity bills. It is exciting to know that our facilities are now powered by renewable energy.”
Along with reducing electricity expenses, the plant will benefit the environment by reducing the company’s carbon footprint, said Tom May, plant manager of Arkwest Communications.
“Previously, Arkwest’s electricity was being generated miles away with no consequential economic impact to this community,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “What Arkwest has done is substitute local economic development in the form of this power plant for the importing of that power. Not only does it provide local economic development, it provides a continual ability for them to reduce their electricity prices, to know in the future what their electricity prices are going to be and contribute to the improvement of the environment at the same time. This is a win on many fronts.”
The power plant has 1,150 solar panels, uses a fixed-tilt system and will produce more than 697,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation and more than 19.36 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over the next 30 years. Over the same period, it’s expected to reduce carbon emissions by 13,687 metric tons, which is equal to driving over 33 million fewer passenger car miles or eliminating the burning of more than 14 million pounds of coal.
Arkwest was founded in Yell County in 1939 and provides long-distance telephone service, high-speed internet and digital TV.