Participants commission 12-MW Silicon Ranch solar project in Arkansas

Aerojet Rocketdyne, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) and Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. (OECC) said March 29 they plan the full commissioning of a 100-acre East Camden, Arkansas, solar field on March 31.

The 12‑MW (ac) solar array is located in the Highland Industrial Park and is owned and operated by Silicon Ranch Corp., which constructed the solar field. Aerojet Rocketdyne will purchase the solar power for its 1,200‑acre East Camden facility. The solar plant was completed in late 2015. Excess solar energy will be released to AECC and dispatched to the wholesale power market. 

“We are proud to report the testing period that began at the end of November has produced zero power anomalies, and with the unusually sunny Arkansas winter, we have been witness to the exciting potential solar has in Arkansas,” said Gary Vaughan, Aerojet Rocketdyne director of Production Operations, Camden. “Silicon Ranch and their construction partner, McCarthy Building Companies, produced a world-class solar facility that will benefit the company and the region today, and in the future.” 

“This innovative partnership benefits electric cooperative members by providing predictable energy cost and contributing to the strong economic growth in the Camden area,” said Duane Highley, president and CEO of AECC, a generation and transmission electric cooperative. “Arkansas Electric Cooperative is constantly evaluating sources to ensure that our 17 retail distribution cooperatives and their more than 1.2 million members have reliable electricity that is affordable.” 

OECC, which serves Highland Industrial Park, assisted in the project by providing technical support, guidance and expertise in power production and delivery. 

“Ouachita Electric Cooperative works to increase the quality of life for our members and their communities,” said Mark Cayce, general manager of OECC.

Said Matt Kisber, President and CEO of Silicon Ranch: “We could not ask for a better partnership to bring the first large-scale solar energy facility to Arkansas. Silicon Ranch echoes the importance of bringing renewable generation to rural America. This project should assist in additional positive economic impact for the Camden area while providing a reliable, low-cost energy source for Aerojet Rocketdyne and Arkansas Electric Cooperative.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets.

Silicon Ranch Corp., one of the top 15 solar operators in the U.S., is a full-service, renewable energy provider that customizes solar solutions based upon the individual needs of its customers.

Ouachita Electric Cooperative is a locally-owned electric distribution cooperative that provides electricity services to approximately 9,500 homes, farms and businesses in Southern Arkansas servicing Calhoun, and parts of Dallas, Ouachita, Bradley and Nevada counties.

Arkansas Electric Cooperative is a generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Little Rock. AECC is the wholesale power supplier for 17 member electric distribution cooperatives in Arkansas. The cooperative has approximately 3,916 MW of generation capacity resources.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.