Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers is looking into using solar power to generate electricity for Paris.

Rogers said he had lunch last week with Clarksville Light and Water Company General Manager John Lester about using solar power in Paris. Earlier this month, it was announced that the Clarksville utility will partner with Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock to build the state’s largest solar power plant that produces electricity for a municipal utility.

“I asked him about their plans and we talked a long time about how it’s going to save money for customers,” Rogers said. “Looking at solar is something I think we need to do, as well as look at other renewable energy sources.”

Expected to be on-line by mid-2018, the 6.5 Megawatt DC (5 MW AC) solar power plant in Clarksville will be Arkansas’s third-largest solar power plant.

“The effort is designed to position Clarksville, Arkansas as a town with the quality of life of a small town, but one that can think and do big things,” Lester said at the time of the announcement. “We are delighted that this project will save our customers approximately $500,000 annually while growing our existing renewable generation supply portfolio with what will be our first locally-based power generation resource.”

“During those times of day when both our hydro and solar resources are producing power, Clarksville will be producing half its power from renewable energy sources,” Lester said. “We’re making Clarksville an example that small towns can be prepared to take advantage of what the future holds for all of us.”

Scenic Hill Solar will build, own and operate the solar power plant on land leased from Clarksville Light and Water Company. Clarksville Light and Water Company will purchase the solar plant’s power according to the terms of a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The solar power plant will produce over 11,000,000 kWh of electricity in the first year of operation and produce over 305,000,000 kWh of electricity over the 30-year term of the PPA. That will be enough electricity to satisfy over 25 percent of Clarksville’s residential electricity consumption. The plant will contain over 20,000 solar modules.

Like Clarksville, Paris presently buys electricity from the Oklahoma Municipal Power Association. The city’s contract with OMPA will expire in 2021 and can be allowed to lapse or be renewed.

“I want to be in the forefront of looking toward the future and new ideas,” Rogers said. “Being able to supply energy to our customers at a very reasonable price is something I have to look at as mayor.

“It’s possible a solar plant will be a good fit for Paris,” Rogers said. “I believe something like this would be good for economic development in Paris, too. Clarksville got a lot of publicity after the plant was announced. I also think companies are going to be looking toward forward leaning communities and solar power can be part of that.”

In fact, in making the announcement about Clarksville, officials estimated that the plant and its construction will add over $10 million of economic development to Clarksville.

“With our electricity purchase agreement up for renewal in 2021, the timing of this is perfect for us,” Rogers said.