LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – (News Release) – Jefferson County officials held a “Flip the Switch” ceremony this afternoon to announce a newly installed solar array providing power to public buildings. Lt. Governor Tim Griffin and Commerce Secretary Mike Preston attended the event hosted by County Judge Gerald Robinson at the Jack Jones Juvenile Detention Center in Pine Bluff.
The solar panels, located on the property of the detention center in Pine Bluff, are the first county-owned solar array in Arkansas.
Griffin offered his congratulations to Jefferson County for being a leader in leveraging this partnership with the private sector, saying, “I challenge other cities, counties and agencies to follow Jefferson County’s lead by taking advantage of this unique opportunity to invest in solar projects and drive sustainability and cost savings.”
The Jefferson County solar project is a result of new opportunities provided to local government, schools including colleges and universities, churches, state agencies and non-profits through Act 464, passed by the state legislature during the 2019 General Assembly. Non-taxed entities, such as county governments, will have the opportunity to benefit from federal incentives and unlock capital for investment in local communities.
The legislation sponsored by District 22 Sen. Dave Wallace of Leachville will cut costs and timelines on solar projects through provisions that increase the size limit of commercial net-metered solar arrays from 300 kilowatts to one megawatt and has generated a flurry among public entities showing interest in their own projects. The array in Jefferson County will generate approximately 176 kilowatts of power.
Preston said, “The public private partnership utilized in this solar project is just the kind the state encourages as part of our overall economic development effort. I am proud to see our state knock down barriers and unlock capital for the benefit of local communities and provide new jobs.”
Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) will facilitate and finance the solar array, installed by Seal Solar, in Pine Bluff. JCI is a global diversified technology and multi-industrial leader with over 100,000 employees and over 2,000 locations worldwide serving customers in more than 150 countries. The company has a focus on making the future more productive, secure and sustainable through the creation of intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions and integrated infrastructure. JCI delivers innovation that make people’s lives and the world better. JCI is working with local governments and other entities across the state on similar projects.