Arkansas Dept. of Corrections is including two new solar arrays to properties

Green Lantern Solar installs 150-kW ground-mount solar project for Vermont market

Entegrity has announced another energy efficiency project with the Arkansas Department of Corrections (DOC) that also includes a solar system. Since the DOC consumes around 6% of the state’s annual budget, any possibility of saving is beneficial for taxpayers. Combined with the first phase of the efficiency project, which was completed in 2019, the new plan saves the department energy and operational savings of more than $ 3.2 million per year.

“Since I took office six years ago, my administration has taken steps to make the Arkansas government leaner and more cost-effective,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “The latest project from the now consolidated corrections department is exactly the kind of transformation we were hoping for. I salute (DOC) Secretary Solomon Graves and (Department of Energy and Environment) Secretary Becky Keogh for the work they have done with their respective agencies to enable such cost saving projects. “

In 2013, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 554 creating the Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting (AEPC) program. Act 554 allows Arkansas state agencies to participate in energy efficiency contracts that use a project’s annual energy and maintenance savings to fully cover labor costs over a period of time. According to legal requirements and the guidelines of the AEPC program, the company performing the work must guarantee the annual savings of a project.

“I am looking forward to another initiative that will help us to make our processes more efficient without reducing services. This will lead to improved service delivery and ultimately save the state and taxpayers money by giving the department the ability to reallocate savings to meet other capital requirements, ”said Secretary Graves.

The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment (E&E) energy office oversees the AEPC program and provides technical guidance and oversight on all projects. Becky Keogh, E&E cabinet secretary, said the AEPC program “is driving efficiency in the state government, as Arkansas taxpayers have achieved nearly $ 500 million in savings since 2013 in efficiency. “

In 2017, the Corrections Department and the Fellowship Corrections Department, now both part of the consolidated Corrections Department, signed performance agreements with Entegrity. Phase 1 projects focused on the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys and the Delta Regional Unit in Dermott, and the Community Correction department in Texarkana, Little Rock, Osceola, Fayetteville, Malvern and West Memphis. The 2017 projects included converting more than 17,000 lights to LEDs, composting food waste for use in prison facilities, extensive heating and air upgrades, and saving water through various strategic upgrades.

In addition, both projects included 300 kW solar systems in the East Arkansas regional unit of the Division of Correction and in the Osceola facility of the Division of Correction. Since completion, the actual annual savings from Phase One have exceeded the $ 1.1 million guaranteed by Entegrity to the Corrections Department and the $ 612,000 guaranteed by Entegrity to the Community Corrections Department.

Building on the success of the first phase, both business areas have approved the second phase. Recent projects include major upgrades for the Tucker Unit, Tucker Max Unit and Tucker Re-Entry Center, as well as a 6.5 MW solar system for the Division of Correction and a 2.5 MW solar system for the Division of Community Correction.

Chris Ladner, Founding Partner of Entegrity, said, “We are honored to continue our work in supporting the DOC to improve performance and reduce waste. This project will bring numerous short-term and long-term benefits from which the Agency and its facilities will benefit in the decades to come. “

Implementation is expected to begin in early 2021 and will largely be completed in early 2022.

The biggest differences between Phase 1 and Phase 2 are in the SSAs made possible by the Solar Access Act of 2019 (Act 464), which was passed almost unanimously in the Arkansas General Assembly. The SSA will have no debt and will allow the agency to buy clean energy that uses federal tax credits. Together, the projects result in guaranteed savings of $ 3.2 million per year for the department.

Secretary Graves said, “We are excited to begin this second phase. This is one of many steps we will take in the coming year to improve our results and make our contribution to continuing the transformation of the state government. “

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