The Cedar Ridge and Midland school districts will be among the first schools in the state to take advantage of the Solar Access Act to improve their facilities. The Solar Access Act is legislation designed to enhance access to solar power and spur solar sector job growth in Arkansas.
And with the assistance of Entegrity, an energy services and solar development company, the districts will see significant savings in their annual utility spending, the company said in a release.
“These two school districts have a strong track record of staying proactive in managing their utility costs, with such projects as LED lighting, mechanical upgrades, and sustainable practices incorporated into their facilities,” Entegrity noted in the release. “With their decisions to move forward with solar energy, the school districts continue to be good stewards of taxpayer money by redirecting utility spending back into their respective budgets.”
The districts are unique by becoming the first districts in the state to utilize co-located solar energy technology.
“We are thrilled to work with Entegrity on yet another energy savings project. Not only are we saving money, we are improving the learning environment for our students and we are teaching them sustainable practices,” said Cedar Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Andy Ashley. “I am proud to be a part of the first co-located solar array in the state, and I encourage more small districts in the state to explore the same.”
The move will generate enough energy to offset the electricity use of more than 200 houses over the course of one year and reduces the need to burn 2,284,903 pounds of coal, the release stated.
Thanks to the Solar Access Act (Act 464), small schools can team up for a larger project that will result in better economics for the schools, the release said. The districts are planning to install a single-axis tracking unit, which orient panels toward the sun. And under the new law, these schools will be locked into their new rate structures for the next two decades, resulting in guaranteed annual savings.
The efforts of Arkansas legislators to enable clean energy for public and private entities has kick-started Arkansas’s energy sector, resulting in job growth throughout the state, according to the release.
According to the Department of Labor, employment related to Solar Photovoltaic installation is expected to be the fastest-growing occupation of the next decade. By bringing solar energy to schools, students will have early exposure to this technology, helping to better prepare them for their future careers.
For more information about Entegrity, visit entegritypartners.com.