Solar Panels Energize Brookland

By Miranda Reynolds
Delta Digital News Service

BROOKLAND, Ark. – With the progression of modern technology and increasing use of electricity, Craighead Electric Cooperative spread its initiatives in solar panels to help power part of Craighead County.

The ongoing project located off Highway 230 involves a total of 3,888 panels. From these panels, the power will supply 135 homes with electricity. The area chosen by Craighead Electric Cooperative did not happen by chance. Craighead Electric Cooperative predominately supplies Brookland’s electricity and met the criteria for the placement. Jon Carmack, communications coordinator with Craighead Electric Cooperative, gives the company’s outlook on the project.

“The goal is to provide a cheaper source of electricity for our members and to kind of get into this idea of community solar,” Carmack said.

In the near future, the company plans on leasing or renting solar panels out to specific homes in the area. This will allow for that panel’s electricity generated to go directly to the home owner’s electricity bill. A unique aspect of rented or leased solar panels resides in the maintenance and upkeep of the equipment. Craighead Electric will be solely responsible for the panels, meaning residents can rest assured with the rental.

For those interested in at-home panels, the company also has net metering to be installed on the side a house. This meter measures electricity used and the solar electricity a household is using in excess. Some homes in Craighead County run entirely from solar panels, Carmack said.

Steven Evans owns VanGuard Mechanical in Jonesboro, a company that installs solar panels for at-home use. An issue for solar panels revolves around supply and demand. Evans sees potential in the solar panels, but there must be demand from the public for it to become what he works on regularly.

“If enough people get behind and push this, yes, I see it’s coming and I know we have to make the change,” Evans said.

Tommy Sims, a 40-year resident of Brookland, said he appreciates Craighead Electric Cooperative’s efforts to reduce the town’s electricity use.

“I think it could be good for it if it works. They’ve got to do something to keep up with all of the technology nowadays. This world is so high-tech, they have to move forward,” Sims said.