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Woodruff Electric Cooperative dedicates solar array with wildlife in mind

WEC Builds 1-Megawatt Solar Array with Today’s Power, Inc.

“The board at Woodruff Electric is dedicated to providing our members with reliable electricity in a cost-effective manner,” said Michael Swan, CEO of Woodruff Electric, at a Tuesday dedication ceremony in Forrest City. “Our board recognizes the benefit that solar gives our membership both today as we commission our solar project, but also in the future.” 

The project features one of the most advanced single-axis tracking systems in the country, containing 3,876 panels covering approximately eight acres of land.  The solar site is located near Woodruff Electric’s headquarters on the Arkansas Highway 1 Bypass in Forrest City. The system consists of 1.4 MW of DC installed and 1.0 MW of AC inverted.  All the energy produced by the 1-Megawatt solar facility will be consumed locally. Woodruff Electric provides electric service to approximately 19,849 members across Cross, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, Prairie, St. Francis and Woodruff counties. 

“Partnering with Woodruff Electric on this project has been extremely gratifying for TPI.  Knowing the benefit this project will bring to their members for all to share in the benefits from the renewable energy produced by the solar array is what being a cooperative is all about,” said Michael Henderson, President of TPI. 

This is the 20th project that TPI has developed in the state of Arkansas with others in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Colorado, and Tennessee. “Solar and storage, once thought of as the future of energy in Arkansas, is now the present and will add great value to local economies, “says Henderson.  “This solar array allows each solar string to track the sun and generate at maximum efficiency every hour of the day.   It’s truly a showplace for east Arkansas and the members of Woodruff Electric.”

According to Swan, the cooperative chose to partner with TPI because of the reliability that has been demonstrated over the last four years to meet the energy needs of other electric cooperatives in Arkansas.  

“Partnering with local communities, such as Forrest City, to bring utility-scale solar to our service territory and demonstrating the feasibility and affordability of using solar power in east Arkansas is just part of providing concern for community and more value to be a cooperative member,” he said.

 In addition, this partnership between Woodruff Electric and Today’s Power will not only provide renewable energy to the members of Woodruff Electric, but Quail Forever will provide a habitat important to pollinators and wildlife within the region. The Quail Forever Chapter will be planting wildflower and native warm-season grass seed, coordinating procurement of planting equipment, providing volunteer planting labor and involving the local 4-H group of students during the establishment and monitoring process as part of the QF youth pollinator habitat program. Quail Forever will also provide a management plan for the utility’s maintenance and operations program.

 Today’s Power, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. Today’s Power, Inc. offers turn-key solar photovoltaic systems, energy storage systems, electric vehicles and charging stations for all sizes and applications.

Woodruff Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Forrest City, is a member-owned electric utility. Woodruff Electric serves electric power to more than 19,000 homes, farms, and businesses in parts of Woodruff, Prairie, Monroe, Cross, St. Francis, Lee, and Phillips counties in eastern Arkansas. The District offices are located in Augusta, Moro, and Barton.

Read More: Today’s Power Begins Construction in Forrest City

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