North Arkansas Electric Cooperative board members and staff broke ground on the co-op’s solar farm west of Salem on Sept. 17. Pictured, from left, are Jason Strong, engineering manager; Dennis Wiles, director; Mike Dover, director; Mel Coleman, CEO;  Larry Goodwin, director; Julie Haney, chief financial officer; Lacey Johnson, HR manager; James Woody, operations manager; and Cameron Davis, director.


NAEC building solar array near Salem

North Arkansas Electric Cooperative has reached an agreement with Today’s Power Inc. to begin construction of a 1-megawatt solar array near the co-op’s headquarters of Salem.

The project is among the most advanced systems in the country and will involve a single-axis tracking array of more than 4,000 panels on about eight acres along U.S. Highway 62. The output of the energy produced by the array at its peak is projected to provide for the power needs of approximately 125 homes.

“We are excited to break ground on this project that marks the first time NAEC will own a generation source,” CEO Mel Coleman said. “Harnessing the sun’s energy has become an economically viable and environmentally responsible means of creating electricity.”

The solar facility will provide local generation for NAEC members. The co-op serves more than 36,650 member accounts across parts of Baxter, Fulton, Izard, Lawrence, Marion, Randolph, Sharp and Stone counties. 

“This project shows NAEC’s commitment not only to providing our members with reliable, affordable power but also to listening to their feedback,” Coleman said. “Many members have asked in recent years for additional renewable generation sources. This utility-scale installation offers just that.”

This is the 19th project that TPI has developed, with most in the 1 MW range, as the result of a utility partnership in the state of Arkansas. 

Today’s Power Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives, including NAEC. Today’s Power Inc. offers turn-key solar photovoltaic systems, energy storage systems, electric vehicles and charging stations.

Check back for updates as construction continues!