FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2020
Little Rock - Audubon Arkansas is partnering with Scenic Hill Solar to install a new solar facility and ‘Solar Learning Lab’ at the Little Rock Audubon Center (LRAC) that will meet 100% of the center’s electricity demand and provide community education opportunities on solar power technology.
Last year, the National Audubon Society released the report and companion website: Survival By Degrees, which found that if global temperatures are permitted to rise unchecked, two-thirds of North America’s birds are vulnerable to extinction. However, immediate action to slow that increase could protect the vast majority of vulnerable species. Transitioning to renewable power like solar energy helps make that possible.
“In order to protect the birds that we love and the places that they need to survive, it’s important that we do everything we can as an organization to reduce our own carbon emissions,” said LRAC Manager, Uta Meyer. “Not only will going 100% solar give us an opportunity to educate the community on the benefits of renewable energy for both people and wildlife, it will help ensure that we’re part of the solution in everything we do.”
“Scenic Hill Solar is delighted to work with Audubon Arkansas on this solar power and educational project,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “The solar power plant will be built, owned, and operated by Scenic Hill Solar and provide electricity to Audubon Arkansas. As the first nonprofit organization in Arkansas to utilize 100 percent solar electricity, Audubon Arkansas is simultaneously building on its rich history of environmental stewardship and conserving scarce budget resources. We are proud to partner with such an exemplary organization.”
The 35 kilowatt solar project will be built at the Little Rock Audubon Center in the Granite Mountain community. Over the next 30 years, the solar power plant will reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of removing 2.7 million passenger car miles from the highway. Construction of the power plant is expected to start following utility approvals and to be completed this year.
The LRAC sits on 450 acres in Granite Mountain and serves as an environmental education field trip destination for K-12 students and hosts a daily out-of-school time program. The LRAC also engages the public in conservation priorities by showcasing Audubon’s work on bird-friendly communities and grassland restoration while providing visitors with engaging options for conservation action.
The Solar Learning Lab will include the ground mounted solar facility tied to LRAC’s electric meter, an indoor interactive educational exhibit on solar technology, and two tracks of educational curriculum – geared towards K-12 students and nonprofit leaders.
In 2019, Audubon Arkansas led a coalition to enact the Arkansas Solar Access Act, allowing nonprofits to use third-party solar service agreements to monetize federal clean energy tax incentives, and thus providing the opportunity for nonprofits to procure economic solar power. The project is supported by a 3M Ecogrant, the National Audubon Society’s Maggie Walker Incentive Fund, and individual donors.
About Audubon Arkansas: Audubon was established in 2000 as a state office of the National Audubon Society. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at ar.audubon.org.
About Scenic Hill Solar: Scenic Hill Solar provides commercial, industrial, government, and utility clients clean electricity, reduced energy prices and long-term electricity price certainty by developing client specific solar energy plans. Scenic Hill Solar provides clients either lower priced electricity under contract or turnkey delivery of solar power plants, depending on our clients' specific needs. Scenic Hill Solar Headquarters are in Little Rock, AR. Visit the company online at www.ScenicHillSolar.com. Scenic Hill Solar's CEO is former Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter: www.ScenicHillSolar.com/billhalter.