On Friday, officials from Concord Public Schools, members of the community, and Entegrity hosted a “Flip the Switch” ceremony to celebrate the school’s new 341-kilowatt (kW) solar array.
The array, designed with a fixed-tilt system, is located on three acres of school-owned land and will save the school over $17,000 a year in energy expenses by taking advantage of third-party financing and federal investment tax credits.
The reduction in operating expenses will allow the district to reinvest back into the school’s budget and remain wise with taxpayer money.
Concord’s local State Senator Missy Irvin voted in support of the 2019 Solar Access Act that enabled this project by allowing public entities to take advantage of low-cost solar energy with third-party ownership, net metering, and grandfathering.
After the law went into effect, Concord Public Schools was one of the first school districts in the state to take advantage of it to reduce utility costs. “I am thrilled to see the effects of this act in my own backyard,” said Senator Missy Irvin. “By supporting solar development through legislation, these financial tools become more readily available to state agencies and Arkansas consumers, allowing them to take charge of their expenses and capitalize on the benefits of solar.”
Concord School District Superintendent, Dr. Kenneth Moore, said, “We are constantly looking for ways to demonstrate leadership and increase the efficiency of our facilities. Taking advantage of the Solar Act was a no brainer for school district leadership. This is a real commitment to the future of our community, facility, staff, and students. Thank you to the policymakers who made this possible, giving small schools another tool to help students.”
State Senator David Wallace, the sponsor of the Solar Access Act, added, “Seeing a small school like Concord be able to be independent and take charge of their expenses is exactly why I wrote and sponsored this bill. The low-cost energy solutions solar provides are a step in the right direction for Arkansas schools, and Superintendent Moore stepped up for his district. Having control over their energy spending will not only have a substantial effect on their finances and opportunities for their students; this economic development will have a lasting effect on the entire community for decades to come. Congratulations to Dr. Moore and congratulations to Concord Public Schools.”
“When Concord Public Schools was presented the opportunity to reduce facility costs and improve the future for their students, they took it. Dr. Moore saw the value in this venture for the school and timed it perfectly with the new act to have the greatest impact on the district’s finances. Entegrity is honored to have helped Concord School District become one of the first in the state to leverage this new financial tool,” said Rick Vance, Regional Director of Entegrity.