SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On August 22, Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Springdale Public Schools flipped the switch on their new solar and battery storage facility alongside Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI), which installed and will own and operate the systems.

Solar power paired with battery energy storage systems is “advancing leaps and bounds in the effort to increase savings and maximize the harnessing of clean energy,” according to a release from Ozarks Electric Cooperative. The 2.375-megawatt solar array consists of more than 7,000 panels on 15 acres of land near Sonora Middle School in Springdale.

The panels include technology that allows them to track the movement of the sun to maximize generation. The project also contains 6.9 MW of battery storage to be used by Ozarks Electric.

Combining solar generation with battery storage will allow Springdale schools to offset about 95% of the total energy consumed by Don Tyson School of Innovation, Sonora Middle School and Sonora Elementary School while helping Ozarks reduce its wholesale demand costs. The power generated by the solar panels will result in significant savings for the school district, while Ozarks can utilize the stored battery power to be used during peak times, thereby reducing wholesale demand charges and controlling costs for members’ demand prices (or charges) and controlling costs for their members.

Ozarks and TPI have demonstrated this concept with previous similar projects, which include the city of Fayetteville wastewater treatment system and the Ozarks Multi-Industry solar park.

Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Today’s Power have knocked it out of the park for Springdale School District with the new solar farm. The Sonora Elementary and Sonora Middle School students have watched the construction project with anticipation over the last year and now see the amazing technology in operation.

The solar farm is not only a STEM Learning tool for our students but also an investment in our community. It provides an avenue for Springdale Public Schools to reduce our carbon footprint all while saving critical tax dollars that can be reinvested in our students. I am grateful for Mitchell Johnson for bringing this fantastic opportunity to his home school district.

 Jared Cleveland, Springdale Public Schools Superintendent

Derek Dyson, CEO of Today’s Power, Inc. said “TPI is excited to continue to work with Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Springdale School District on implementing this exciting project. TPI’s success is due to our relationships with entities, such as Ozarks and Springdale.  By working together, TPI further demonstrates the value of being cooperative-owned and community-focused in completing this facility within a timely and cost-effective manner. TPI looks forward to future opportunities to serve this community.”

Mitchell Johnson, president and CEO of Ozarks Electric, said the project is an example of how innovation and collaboration can benefit cooperative members and the community.

“Working together, we can meet the energy needs of our region and add renewable resources while continuing to provide reliable, affordable power for our members,” Johnson said. “I am proud of our partnership with TPI and Springdale schools, and look forward to future projects.”