Our Ozarks Natural Energy program is simple. The installation of our community solar facility has allowed us the opportunity to provide our members with a solar option that is much simpler than rooftop systems. It requires no construction or maintenance costs and is only available to Arkansas Ozarks Electric members. Our state-of-the-art facility, located on approximately five acres in Springdale, Arkansas, is where it all starts. The facility’s 4,080 panels generate more than two million kilowatt hours (kWh) every year, on average.
On a yearly basis, our innovative facility generates enough electricity to power up to 150-200 homes. In addition, the amount of electricity it generates will make a major positive impact on our environment.
This innovative program offers an alternative solution to members who want a better value from using natural power. With Ozarks Natural Energy, members can enjoy the benefits of renewable energy without the hassle and worry of equipment installation and ongoing maintenance. Members may purchase up to 100 shares.
Benefits of Community Solar
Low cost alternative to rooftop solar
Provided by your trusted electric provider
No impact on homeowner’s insurance or building structure
No maintenance for homeowners
Complements overall energy mix diversity
Supports grid stability and peak reduction
No long-term commitment. If you move, can take it with you to a new address on Ozarks Electric’s lines or sell back to Ozarks Electric
Homeowners with restrictive covenants/HOA regulation can participate
How The Program Works
The idea behind Ozarks Natural Energy is simple: enjoy the benefits of renewable energy without the hassle of purchasing, installing and maintaining equipment yourself. Participating members receive a credit on their monthly bill based on the total output from the facility. Each member’s individual bill credit is determined by the percentage of output (“shares”) for which they sign up during the enrollment period.
Our facility produces energy, which is then sent on to our system, or grid, and members who participate receive credit based on purchased shares of the facility’s total monthly output.
Our facility utilizes the tenKsolar Solar REFLECT 26 photovoltaic system, which provides superior energy density and requires much less geographic space than other solar energy options, generating up to 20 percent more energy than traditional solar systems.
This program is currently available only to Arkansas members.
Community Solar FAQs
Why is Ozarks Electric Cooperative offering this program?
In a recent survey, a large percentage of members showed interest in renewable energy. Upon further research, we realized that solar installations may not work for every member, and a low-cost alternative solution could prove beneficial for some members who are interested.
Where is the solar facility located? How large is it?
The solar facility is located on about five acres in east Springdale. The one megawatt facility has 4,080 panels and generates more than two million kilowatt-hours annually.
How am I credited on my bill for being part of this program?
When you sign up to purchase shares of the facility’s output every month, you are then credited for the amount of power those shares generate. That output is then calculated by the approved share credit applied to your bill every month. A simple way to think of it is as a shareholder – you receive credit for a purchased share of the facility’s total output every month.
How long can I receive credit for shares?
The facility has a 25-year life cycle upon beginning operation. If you signed up for credit in year one (February 2016), the life cycle would be 25 years. Every following year, the life cycle of the share/credit will reduce by one year and the cost of purchasing shares will also reduce accordingly.
Will the bill credit be the same every month?
Not necessarily. There are several factors that will determine your monthly credit amount. Things such as weather can play a part in the amount of power the facility generates. Changes in wholesale electricity rates over time can also increase the amount of the credit you receive. However, the credit amount will not fluctuate greatly from month to month.
What if I sign up for this program but move and am no longer a member of Ozarks Electric Cooperative?
If you sign up for the program, there are three options with regards to your shares. They may be 1) transferred to a new account within our service territory; 2) assigned to another account within our service territory; or 3) purchased back by us at a depreciated rate of 4% per year, based on date of initial purchase.
Can I sign someone else up for the program, as a gift?
Yes! It’s simple and easy to sign someone else up for the program and ensure they receive credit from purchased shares. Simply contact directly at ONE@ozarksecc.com or 479.684.4960 and we will be happy to assist you.
Members who sign up and purchase shares will receive bill credit for the life of the solar panel. With each passing year, the term of the panels' output will decrease by a year.
For example, if a member signs up for Ozarks Natural Energy in year four, the share's credit term will be 22 years. The subsequent cost to purchase shares will also go down. This will ensure that all participants will see the same return on investment. If electric rates increase, the credit from the facility will increase.