City seeks to increase reliance on renewable energy

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Batesville is no stranger when it comes to renewable energy, and now the city is looking to expand its efforts in the solar array.

Two solar energy stations have been approved for construction, the larger of which is set to be the biggest floating solar array in the country.

“We had more than one presentation about the solar power,” said Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh. “We kind of put it on hold for awhile and then we decided that this was the right time to move forward.”

Batesville is partnering with Entegrity from Little Rock for the project and will decrease its reliance with Entergy once construction is complete.

“There’s a good payoff,” said Damon Johnson, the Batesville city engineer. “Yes, we are always looking to be more energy efficient, green energy often times is a good path to go for that.”

Another part of the project will be building a solar canopy at the city’s community center, similar to the one recently built at Batesville High School.

“Just because this piece is not visible to the public, and we wanted the public to know that we’re doing this and be aware.” Johnson said.

The project is set to be complete in the winter of 2022, and officials say it’ll save the city around $3.5 million, potentially more, in the next two decades.

“I think all of us are looking and seeing how this is going to work,” Elumbaugh said. “And I think we’ll see more and more solar even in our own community in our city, as well as other cities around the US.”

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