LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (TB&P) — Little Rock-based utility Central Arkansas Water and Little Rock-based renewable energy company Scenic Hill Solar announced Wednesday (Dec. 16) a more than $7 million project to build a 4.8-megawatt DC solar array as the first to receive regulatory approval under a state law that expands access to solar projects.
The array will be built on 30 acres near Cabot and is expected to meet about 20% of the utility’s energy demand, save it more than $7 million in energy costs over 30 years, improve the environment, create a more sustainable utility and save ratepayers money, according to a news release.
The Arkansas Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved the utility’s application to construct a net-metering facility with a generating capacity of more than 1,000 kilowatts. This is the commission’s first approval of a net-metering facility of this size, the release said. In 2019, state legislators approved the Solar Access Act, now Act 464, allowing non-tax entities to receive third-party financing for solar projects.
“This solar facility is one part of CAW’s ongoing efforts to remain environmentally and economically sustainable for the benefit of customers we serve today and those we will serve in the future,” said Tad Bohannon, CEO of Central Arkansas Water. “We know that increased use of solar power improves the environmental sustainability of the utility and the communities we serve, but utilizing solar power also reduces costs and improves the economic sustainability of the utility for the benefit of our ratepayers.”
The project has been in the works for more than two years, and the utility has worked with Scenic Hill Solar over the past few months. The utility is expected to have immediate savings in its annual power usage, the release claimed.
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