Switching to solar

Phase one of the solar panel project for Searcy Water Utilities is nearly complete, according to Assistant General Manager Tim Cleveland.

“The solar panels are all installed at the wastewater treatment facility,” at 8700 Arkansas Highway 13,

In July, the board of public utilities approved the project and began working with sustainable energy services company Entegrity.

Cleveland said installment of the panels at the wastewater plant began in September. Although he didn’t know the number of panels, he said that about one megawatt of power will be generated in the area of the wastewater plant. According to cleanenergyauthority.com, a megawatt “is equivalent to the energy produced by 10 automobile engines.”

More panels are expected to be installed on Arkansas Highway 36, “close to Paul subdivision” within six months, Cleveland said.

Searcy Water Utilities General Manager Daniel Dawson said in July that “the project is supposed to be at or below zero [cost] to the utility.”

Searcy Water Utilities General Manager Daniel Dawson said in July that “the project is supposed to be at or below zero [cost] to the utility.”

Board member Don Miller said the project will be good for everyone because the cost of electricity will go down.

Dawson said that calculating the exact savings is difficult because solar energy depends on the weather, “but the provider has guaranteed to the board in writing that we will have a positive cash flow from the project from the very first year of operation.”

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