by Tyler Hale
Two agricultural operations in Northeast Arkansas, along with Craighead Electric Cooperative, will partner with Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) to build a three-pronged farm solar energy project that incorporates two different energy technologies along with battery storage capabilities. According to TPI news release, this will be the first project of its kind in Arkansas.
Southland Gin and Delta Farms, both of Lake City in Craighead County, are working to develop the project, which will be located on approximately 14.59 acres in Jonesboro. The energy project will consist of three systems: a 1.2 megawatt fixed-tilt system, a single-axis tracking solar system, and a battery energy storage system.
In total, the energy project is expected to generate two megawatts between the two solar facilities, while the battery is projected to provide six megawatts of storage. TPI officials say that the project will provide clean energy for the farming operations for 20 years.
“To achieve a project of this size, great vision, leadership and teamwork are required,” Michael Henderson, President of TPI said in a statement. “Special recognition needs to be given to these leaders specifically Len Nall, Gregg Garner and Ted Qualls as well as Brian Duncan, CEO of Craighead Electric Cooperative.”
Delta Gin originally approached TPI for a solar analysis and Southland Gin later requested a similar analysis. The resulting project is aimed at providing benefits for both operations, as well as benefits for Craighead Electric Cooperative members.
Any excess electricity that is generated will be net metered to Craighead Electric or saved in the battery storage. Craighead Electric will be able to use electricity stored on the batteries during peak use periods.
“It’s exciting to see a project like this that benefits all members of Craighead Electric. The idea of storing power to use whenever you need it is an industry changing technology,” says Brian Duncan, CEO of Craighead Electric. “At Craighead Electric Cooperative, we work together to enhance our members’ value, whether it be through renewable power resources or high-speed broadband internet. This initiative is an example of how utilities and major energy users, through creativity and partnership, are meeting the needs of the future.”
Delta Farms will purchase and own the fixed-tilt system. TPI will own the single-axis tracking system and the battery storage system. In addition, TPI will operate both systems.
Construction has already begun on the project, with the system construction slated to begin in December 2019. The project is set to be commissioned in February 2020 and completed in March 2020 with operation beginning shortly after completion.
This marks the eighth project for Today’s Power in 2019. Most recently, the company broke ground on a solar array for C&L Electric Cooperative in Star City.
Image courtesy of Today’s Power Inc.