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2 companies launch new solar farm in Boone County, Ark. ; water company benefits

HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) – Scenic Hill Solar and Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority (OMRPWA) have started production from a new solar farm.

The two companies joined forces in November 2019. OMRPWA aimed for a solar power plant to provide electricity to the water utility. Prior to 2019, Arkansas was way behind in solar power generation. According to the Advanced Energy Association, the natural state has seen an increase of almost 2,000%.

“More and more, you find that the cheapest form of energy production is renewable. It’s solar or wind,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill. “We have seen this increase because the profitability of solar power generation has simultaneously improved.”

Halter says solar power is an accessible resource in Arkansas that should be used to benefit everyone. Recent events have shown the importance of diversified energy production.

“The most recent dramatic example was in Texas last year, where you had record cold and heating demand,” he said. “Coupled with the network stations going offline, this created the perfect storm during which you had blackouts and real human tragedies.

The new Harrison Solar Power Plant is a 1.1 megawatt solar power system on approximately seven acres of land. There are 2,500 solar modules and this plant will produce enough electricity to fully power 200 homes in one year.

It will provide power to OMRPWA, which estimates it saves $7,000 per month by going solar.

“We were looking for ways to save money, and I had heard of Scenic Hills to see if a public water authority was applicable,” said Andy Anderson, presidents of OMRPWA. “Right now we need money for some projects, major repair projects that will be going on.”

OMRPWA predicts that switching to solar power will translate directly into lower bills for customers on the road.

“It took a long time to get here, and there were a lot of hurdles,” Anderson said. “We were really excited to put it online and start saving money.”

“We’ve seen prices go up with soaring natural gas fees over the past few months,” Halter said. “The way to avoid this is to go solar, where the cost of fuel is literally zero, no one charges us for the sun. There’s plenty of it. It’s time we used it for the benefit of all Arkansans .

Scenic Hill Solar said the solar plant will produce more than 1,600,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year alone and more than 46,000,000 kilowatt hours over the next thirty years.

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