Solar power energy gaining momentum in Central Arkansas

Posted: April 14, 2021 / 05:45 CDT / Updated: April 14, 2021 / 05:45 CDT

CENTRAL ARKANSAS – The idea of ​​using the sun to create energy has been around for decades, but less than one percent of Arkansas ’electricity comes from the sun.

In recent weeks, a small number of organizations have turned to solar energy.

Tranquil environment in Audubon Arkansas: a comfortable habitat for birds whose buildings stay out of the sun. It’s a trend that takes momentum.

Because while it may not look like it does now, a field on Richie Street in Cabot will host a 4.8 megawatt solar facility for Central Arkansas Water.

“This will offset about 20 percent of our current energy costs,” said Douglas Shackelford of Central Arkansas Water.

It is a move that will save the utility about $ 7 million over the next 20 to 30 years. And Shackelford says this is just the beginning.

“We will be adding solar panels to some of our treatment facilities,” Shackelford said. And lower operating costs mean savings for the customer.

At Audubon Arkansas, their panels will help reduce carbon emissions.

Pulaski County has just switched the switch to save money.

And the City of England is planning to pump solar energy into its court system and parks.

“You’re seeing these projects across the state of Arkansas,” said Bill Halter of Scenic Hill Solar.

Halter says Arkansas has been following the trend mostly because the right policies were not in place.

“Two years ago, we started putting together some public policies that really make sense for the solar industry and for Arkansas rate payers,” Halter said.

The goal now, he says, is to keep it that way.

“It’s important for Arkansas policy makers to nurture this, to protect that, because it’s in the long-term interest of all Arkansans,” Halter said.

Having options when it comes to energy sources and Halter said, cost reduction. The Natural State enhances its natural resources to save money for consumers and protect its very name.

So far, the state has invested $ 469 million in the sun. That provided more than 300 jobs for Arkansans.