Forrest City Goes Solar With 3.4-MW System by Scenic Hill

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The “Jewel of the Delta” will soon have another glittering bauble, a 3.46-megawatt solar system to supply the municipality of Forrest City.

The St. Francis County town of about 15,000 announced a partnership Thursday with Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock to build three photovoltaic arrays capable of providing 100 percent of city-used electricity, a savings of about $80,000 a year, according to Mayor Cedric Williams. 

The partnership will work under the Arkansas Energy Office’s Energy Performance Contracting program, providing energy-efficient LED lighting upgrades for all municipal buildings. The efficiency program will save the city another $20,000 a year, said Williams who said he’s long had a “vision of enhancing technological capacity while finding ways to be more efficient with our citizens’ tax dollars.”

The project is the first in Arkansas located in the service territories of two electric utilities, in this case Entergy Arkansas and Woodruff Electric Cooperative Corp., according to a Scenic Hill news release.

“The project will have a tremendous impact on our local economy while being constructed, through both local employment and as construction workers will be staying in our hotels and eating at our local restaurants,” the mayor said. The project, scheduled to begin as soon as all permits are received, is expected to be completed late next year.

The system will employ more than 7,000 solar modules and mean more than $5 million to the Forrest City economy, according to Scenic Hill CEO Bill Halter, the former Arkansas lieutenant governor. 

Halter praised Forrest City’s leadership and “commitment to smart sustainability,” a major reason for “companies to look to Forrest City as a place to thrive. Scenic Hill Solar is excited to partner with the ‘Jewel of the Delta.'”