100 Acre Solar Farm to be Built in South Arkansas

Update: East Camden, AR– It’s a partnership that is bringing together several different groups, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Southern Arkansas University- Tech, and Ouachita Electric Cooperative, all for one goal… to find different options for renewable energy and distributive energy.

“We were looking at different options, like I say for different types of renewable energy, and distributive energy. The solar project came to our attention especially looking at Aerojet’s existing settlement, we got in touch, after Aerojet got in touch with a company called Silicon Ranch, they develop solar farms and specialize solar farms in the south,” says Mark Cayce, Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation, General Manager.

When it’s up and running, the solar farm will have a big impact on energy prices for the region.

“It provides us a clean energy which is important from an environmental stand point, but it also provides a known and steady supply of energy at a known price,” says Gary W. Vaughan, Director of Camden Operations

Officials say using the solar farm will greatly reduce the co-2 footprint in the state.

“The reduction in the CO-2 footprint in the state will definitely be assisted by this project, greatly assisted I would say, because the energy that would have been either produced with coal, or natural gas will be produced with solar power, and there for your c0-2 footprint will be reduced,” says Corbet Lamkin, Chancellor of SAU-Tech.

This 12-megawatt solar farm will be the largest solar farm in the state. Being the technology driven company that Aerojet is, everything seems to fit right into place.

EAST CAMDEN, AR — A 12-megawatt, 100 acre solar farm will be built in Calhoun County.

The project was announced today.

Press Release:

Aerojet Rocketdyne and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation have signed agreements with Silicon Ranch Corporation, a Nashville-based renewable energy provider, to build and manage what will be the largest solar field in Arkansas.

The 12-megawatt project will be constructed in Highland Industrial Park, located in the city of East Camden, and will occupy approximately 100 acres. It will serve to provide predictable energy costs as well as contribute to ongoing clean energy development and economic growth in the region.

A unique business approach to a common vision of adding clean solar power to the Arkansas electricity mix has brought customer Aerojet Rocketdyne and its utilities, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation (OECC), together.

Under its agreement, Aerojet Rocketdyne will purchase solar power for the 1,200-acre site it leases in East Camden. Silicon Ranch Corporation is expected to complete the project in late 2015. Once completed, the plant will provide clean supplemental daytime power to Aerojet Rocketdyne and will be capable of generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 2,400 single-family homes. Excess solar energy will be released to AECC and integrated into the cooperative’s diverse generation portfolio.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne understands the importance of solar energy especially when it comes to clean air, the natural environment and economic growth,” said Chris Conley, vice president of Environmental, Health and Safety for Aerojet Rocketdyne. “This agreement better positions our company to attain these objectives and is a critical step toward bringing more renewable energy to rural America. It will contribute to state and federal energy portfolio goals, as well as many of the economic challenges that face businesses.”

The 12-megawatts, which produce zero emissions, will serve both Aerojet Rocketdyne and AECC. AECC is a generation and transmission electric cooperative that provides reliable and affordable wholesale power to 17 electric distribution cooperatives, including Aerojet Rocketdyne’s utility service provider, OECC. Through an innovative partnership, the companies have worked together to provide Arkansas and AECC’s more than 500,000 members with additional clean energy.

OECC, which distributes power to the Highland Industrial Park, assisted in the agreement by providing technical support, guidance and expertise in power production and delivery. OECC’s involvement with Aerojet Rocketdyne is a result of a Southern Arkansas University Tech initiative to explore distributive energy options and economic growth for rural Southern Arkansas.

“OECC’s and AECC’s partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne and Silicon Ranch is a means to bring new technology to south Arkansas while providing jobs, attracting new business and providing clean affordable energy for our members,” said Mark Cayce, general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative. “We have advocated for rural communities for more than 75 years. Over the last several years, we have offered our members innovative methods to become more energy efficient. This effort enhances our programs.”

Silicon Ranch echoes the importance of bringing renewable generation to rural America. “We are excited to partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne in developing the first, large-scale solar project in Arkansas. This would not be possible without the participation and support of AECC and OECC. We believe this clean-energy investment will spur positive economic, environmental and social advantages for the region,” said Matthew Kisber, president and chief executive officer of Silicon Ranch.

“AECC is strongly committed to exploring all available power-generation options and partnerships in its mission to provide our members with reliable, affordable energy in a responsible manner,” said Duane Highley, president and chief executive officer of AECC. “AECC is excited about pursuing innovative projects of this nature that will provide long-term benefits to its members.”

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