07/31/17  Ouachita Electric Co-op Honored In Washington D.C.


Ouachita Electric Coop and its general manager Mark Cayce were honored over the weekend in Washington, D.C. As the Smart Electric Power Alliance's Cooperative Utility of the year.

The award comes after significant steps were taken by Ouachita Electric Coop and Cayce to develop the use of solar power for use by its customers.

Aerojet needed to boost its prospects for winning future contracts from the Defense Department and sought to boost the diversity of its energy sources. When Aerojet sought plausible solar solutions through its solar project developer Silicon Ranch Corporation, Cayce was ready to engage. Cayce said Arkansas had been a closed market for solar, it had never been done before on this scale.

With Cayce's help and approvals from regulators, Silicon Ranch negotiated one of two power purchase agreements whereby Aerojet purchased all the solar powered electricity it could take and Arkansas Electric Coop would purchase any excess. With the purchase of solar-generated power, Aerojet boosted its energy diversity and fixed its costs for the next 25 years. Camden would remain the base for its regional missile manufacturing operations.

To help make the future case for solar, Ouachita Electric Coop built a solar farm to power most of its own operations. And just last month, Ouachita went a step further by turning on a 1 megawatt community solar project it built off highway 203. This fall, members will be able to buy into a portion of its output to lower their power bill.