General Dynamics, Today’s Power Plan Major Solar Projects in Calhoun County

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Today’s Power Inc. of Little Rock has partnered with General Dynamics and Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. to build two solar power plants in Calhoun County that will produce over 4 million kilowatt-hours of sun power a year, the companies announced Monday.

General Dynamics’ Ordnance & Tactical Systems, a global aerospace and defense company with major operations in East Camden, has signed a deal with Today’s Power for solar services and electricity from two 1-megawatt arrays to be built near General Dynamics’ facilities on two campuses near Little Caney Creek, along Highway 203 and County Road 15. Today’s Power, in a news release, said the power plants should be operational by the third quarter of this year. Construction is expected to start this month and end in August.

“We are excited about this opportunity to partner with TPI and OECC to expand our usage of renewable energy and reduce our carbon footprint at the General Dynamics-OTS Calhoun County facility,” said Eric Ellis, vice president and general manager of precision systems for the defense contractor. Ellis’ remarks came in a prepared statement.

Ouachita Electric will lease and operate two on-site 2.4MW battery storage systems as part of the project, under an energy storage services agreement. The battery systems will store the electricity from the two solar arrays.

The project, the 10th major renewable energy undertaking in and around Camden in recent years, was designed to mitigate part of OECC’s peak demand, said Mark Cayce, the distribution cooperative’s general manager. He said the project would help General Dynamics “lower their cost of operations while at the same time lowering costs for all members of our cooperative.” He called it “a great example of how industry and utilities can work together to protect the environment, lower cost, and improve the reliability of the electric grid.”

“It’s a pleasure working with one of the most innovative companies in the world,” Today’s Power President Michael Henderson said in the news release. “TPI is honored to work with General Dynamics-OTS to ensure our nation’s defense is operated with clean, sustainable energy.”

The contractor develops and manufactures munitions, weapons and tactic systems “to empower the United States armed forces and its allies,” the company says. Today’s Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. of Little Rock, the wholesale power co-op owned by the state’s 17 power distribution cooperatives, including OECC.