Alma will start moving forward with its plan to power municipal facilities with solar energy.
In 2017, Public Works Director Mark Yardley brought up an idea to save money. This idea was to build solar panels in Alma to help lessen the cost of powering the municipal facilities.
“When I became mayor, I wanted this to be one of my top projects,” Alma Mayor Jerry Martin said.
The project is expected to save the city of Alma $1.7 million over the course of 25 years. Martin searched all over Arkansas for the right company to give the project life. He compared and contrasted 17 different companies until finally deciding on Entegrity of Little Rock.
The panels will be built on 5 to 6 acres of open land. Martin mentioned that the project will be completed in two phases. The first phase will involve constructing solar panels at the wastewater treatment facility in Alma where the land is located. This will allow for the facility and nearby buildings to be powered by solar energy.
The second phase will be the construction of solar panels in another area. These solar panels will power the Alma City offices as well as the rest of the municipal facilities.
Martin said they will still remain on the grid.
“The solar panels will power that specific grid, and save money,” he explained.
The power is currently being provided by Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative.
The construction of the solar panels themselves will only be at the cost of Entegrity. Martin said they have entered a contract with the company and will buy the power from them for the next 25 years. Entegrity will also purchase any extra land that will be needed for the construction.
This partnership with Entegrity will also allow for them to collocate with other cities and school districts. This will give Alma the opportunity to save more than the original $1.7 million.
The start date will be decided by the end of the week, and they hope to be finished by the end of the year.