City of Alma, Entegrity 'Flip the Switch' on solar

Staff Writer
Entegrity's Sam Selig, left, is seen with Alma Mayor Jerry Martin, Alma Public Works Director Mark Yardley, and District 5 Justice of the Peace Raymond Harvey at the city's Flip the Switch event on Feb. 5. The event commemorated powering on Alma's new solar array that will make use of a brownfield site and create local jobs.

Representatives of the City of Alma gathered with the community and Entegrity on Feb. 5 to commemorate powering on their new solar array with a “Flip the Switch” ceremony.

The 520-kW array was built on a brownfield site, making land that would otherwise be unusable, a lucrative asset to the community. The array is the first of two that, once both are constructed, will create $50,000 in energy savings in the first year and a lifetime savings of over $2 million.

While city leaders had explored the prospect of solar energy for years, the project economics significantly improved after the Solar Access Act passed in 2019. Sen. Bob Ballinger and Rep. Bruce Coleman voted in favor of the Solar Access Act and made this array possible for the City of Alma.

“I’m excited to see communities I serve take advantage of legislation we’ve worked so hard to pass. Projects like this change the places we call home for the better by bringing economic growth and opportunities,” stated Ballinger.

Coleman added, “I want to congratulate Mayor Martin and the city council for the successful completion of this project, one that will work to bring significant investment to the community. Thank you for your public stewardship through this tumultuous year.”

Mayor Jerry Martin looks forward to the array’s possibilities, stating that “smaller cities like Alma can take advantage of solar savings thanks to the Solar Access Act. The city budget directly affects our people, so I want to thank state leaders for the opportunity to free up funds. Our savings will allow us to reduce taxpayer burden, provide a cushion to weather future storms, and invest in the economic development of Alma.”

Arkansas cities are using solar to reach financial goals and create local jobs. As the renewable energy industry grows and the country moves toward decarbonization, Arkansas can stay ahead of the curve with proactive policy. Endorsers of the Solar Access Act have stepped up for consumers, bringing investment to their communities and improving their quality of life.