Bearden Schools, Education Co-op Plan Solar Arrays With Today’s Power

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Today’s Power Inc. of Little Rock announced its first solar project of the year last week, for two south Arkansas educational groups seeking power savings: the South Central Service Cooperative in Camden and the Bearden School District.

The SCSC is the first of Arkansas’ 15 education service cooperatives to commission a campus-based solar project, in this case a 100-kilowatt fixed-tilt array that will supply 99% of the cooperative’s electric power demand.

Camden Mayor Julian Lott attended the announcement Jan. 22, along with leaders of Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. of Camden, who detailed how the projects will save money.

The array for the 500-student Bearden district, a 400-kilowatt system, is expected to save district taxpayers $25,000 a year in power bills, providing about 90 percent of the schools’ electricity load.

Karen Kay McMahen, SCSC director, said in a statement her organization is “dedicated to innovation and sustainability in reducing our carbon footprint.” The array “will not only benefit the services provided by the cooperative, but sets an example for our community and the state of Arkansas.”

The project sprouted after McMahen reached out to OECC seeking electricity savings. The result was a purchase-power agreement, with Today’s Power retaining ownership of the solar panels.

Bearden Schools followed SCSC’s lead. “As a public school district, we feel it is our duty and obligation to use all available resources to be fiscally responsible,” Bearden Superintendent Denny Rozenberg said in a news release. “The development of a clean, renewable energy system for our campus is an outstanding example.”

South Central Service Cooperative aids schools and communities with education goals by helping to build strong academics, innovative strategies and life and career skills. Today’s Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. of Little Rock.