FOUNTAIN LAKE — Fountain Lake School District is partnering with Scenic Hill Solar to build a solar power plant to provide electricity for approximately 90% of Fountain Lake’s operations.
“Fountain Lake’s commitment to providing the highest quality education to our students requires that we make smart decisions about where our electricity comes from, and today we’re in the best position possible to do that,” Superintendent Michael Murphy said.
“Solar energy is not the energy of the future — it’s arrived in Fountain Lake — and we’re proud to showcase for our students, staff and parents the power of science and technology to improve our well-being as a community and a district,” he said.
Scenic Hill Solar provides clients lower-priced renewable electricity either under contract or through turnkey delivery of solar power plants, with the selection depending on the district’s specific needs, Hayden Fusilier, FLSD director of support services and facilities, said.
He said the district is building a solar power plant to reduce electricity prices, to have a long-term hedge against future increases in electricity prices, and to have a long-term certainty in the budgets for power and the accomplishment of sustainability goals.
Murphy said Scenic Hill Solar will be looking for space to build the solar power plant, noting they will not be building it on the campus due to the district’s topography, steep hills and valleys.
Fusilier said the solar power plant would help the community, students and district because it will reduce electricity costs and put less pressure on the budget for FLSD; it will create long-term predictability for electricity costs, enhancing the attractiveness of Garland County to companies with sustainability goals; it will give an immediate boost to the economy and job creation; increase property tax revenue to local governments and the district; lead to environmental improvements to air and water, including reductions in carbon emissions, particulate matter and water use in the generation of electricity; and improve national security by reducing dependence on international oil and natural gas markets.
He said Scenic Hill Solar would build, own and operate the new 974 kW DC solar power plant and sell electricity to Fountain Lake under a long-term contract.
“The solar power plant will save the district $1.8 million over the next 28 years at a fixed rate much lower than the current energy provider,” Fusilier said.
According to a news release, construction of the power plant project will begin after all governmental approvals are received and are slated for completion and generation of solar electricity in 2021.
“The 974 kW solar power plant will produce over 1,655,800 kWh of electricity in the first year of operation and over 46,000,000 kWh of electricity over the next 30 years, produce enough clean electricity to satisfy 90% of Fountain Lake School District’s electricity consumption, contain over 2,400 solar modules, utilize a ground-mounted single-axis tracking solar array, reduce carbon emissions by over 32,690 metric tons which are the equivalent of driving over 81 million fewer passenger car miles or eliminating the burning of over 36 million pounds of coal or providing over 5,535 homes electricity for one year,” according to the release.
Fusilier said Scenic Hill Solar provides commercial, industrial, government, and utility clients clean electricity, reduced energy prices and long-term electricity price certainty by developing client-specific solar energy plans.
It provides clients either lower-priced electricity under contract or turnkey delivery of solar power plants, depending on the clients’ specific needs, he said, noting Scenic Hill Solar headquarters are in Little Rock.