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The Bearden School District and Today’s Power Inc. of North Little Rock broke ground on a solar power project last week that is expected to supply roughly 90% of the school system’s electricity.
The solar commitment came after South Central Service Cooperative, an educational nonprofit, announced its own solar project in Camden. The Bearden schools and members of Ouachita Electric Cooperative commissioned a 226-kilowatt system near Bearden High School and a 195-kilowatt companion array near Bearden Elementary School.
Superintendent Denny Rozenberg said in a statement that he was proud of the partnership with Today’s Power, calling the project “the first solar panel system for a public school in south Arkansas.” The power arrays are expected to save the district “over $25,000 a year in energy costs for the next 20 years,” he said.
He also praised the insight of Ouachita Electric’s general manager, Mark Cayce, an innovator in solar power among Arkansas cooperative CEOs, and counsel from Karen McMahen, director of the South Central Education Co-op.
With 1,120 solar panels, the two arrays will generate nearly 650,000 kilowatt-hours of power a year. A preliminary interconnection site review from Entergy Arkansas has been approved, and construction is expected to be finished by September, according to Jennah Denney, marketing and public relations coordinator for Today’s Power.
Today’s Power’s president, Michael Henderson, praised Bearden school leaders, including school board President Doris Parham, for leadership in “preparing for the Bearden students/community to be successful.” The school system, in Ouachita County, has about 500 students from kindergarten through high school.
Today’s Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., the little Rock utility service cooperative owned by Arkansas’ 17 electric distribution cooperatives. It offers turnkey solar systems, energy storage options, electric vehicles and charging stations for customers in Arkansas and beyond.