In Northeast Arkansas, two agricultural operations set in motion a one-of-a-kind solar project that will enable them to reap savings for decades.
Southland Gin and Delta Farms have partnered with Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) and Craighead Electric Cooperative on a unique solar energy system that combines two different technologies in a single project. In total, the project consists of three systems: a fixed-tilt array, a single-axis tracking array and on-site battery energy storage.
The solar arrays will provide 2 megawatts (MW) of electricity, while the battery will provide 6 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage. Of the total system capacity, the fixed-tilt system will provide 1.2 MW of capacity, and the single-axis tracking system will provide 882 kW of capacity. It is expected that the fixed-tilt system will produce approximately 1,760,000 kWh per year, and the single-axis tracking system will yield 1,420,000 kWh annually.
There are a total of 2,352,375 solar panels in the Jonesboro-based solar energy system, which sits on 14.59 acres of land.
“This intriguing and innovative project has been under development since the last quarter of 2019, and we are excited to start to generate and harvest energy from the sun,” Len B. Nall of Southland Gin and Delta Farm said in a statement. “Directly impacting our farms with positive economic development, the completion of these solar facilities is a testament to our sustainability initiatives which help us preserve our most precious resources as farmers: Air, Land, and Water. We ‘re proud to partner with Today’s Power and Craighead Electric on this innovative project.”
Delta Farms will own the fixed-tilt system, and Today’s Power will own the single-axis tracking system and battery storage as well as operate the systems. Energy generated by the single-axis tracking system will be leased by Today’s Power to Southland Gin. In addition, excess electricity generated by the arrays will be net metered to Craighead Electric System, and the cooperative will have the option of drawing electricity from the battery storage to utilized during peak electricity demand.
“This project is especially rewarding to me because I was raised in this community and grew up farming as a member of Craighead Electric. Helping the agriculture industry incorporate leading edge technology is so exciting. Partnering with quality entities such like Southland Gin, Delta Farms, Craighead Electric and Farm Credit provides a level of comfort that makes long-term contracts feasible. All things considered, this project will help improve the quality of life for residents in northeast Arkansas” Today’s Power president Michael Henderson said.
First announced in December 2019, the project got its start when Delta Farms requested a solar analysis from Today’s Power, with Southland Gin requesting a similar analysis. For Craighead Electric Cooperative executives, this project was an opportunity to help two cooperative members achieve energy goals while helping a broader range of local cooperative members simultaneously.
Construction for the project commenced in December 2019 and, under a multilateral contract, a complete interconnection was established for the systems in May.
This is the second project that Today’s Power has completed in as many days. On Thursday, July 30, the solar company flipped the switch on a solar array for Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative in Mena. This system was a 1 MW system designed to supply electricity for local cooperative members.