Solar to enable Arkansas waste treatment facility to be fully energy self-sufficient

Veolia Arkansas solar waste treatment
Veolia North America and Today’s Power Inc. leaders break ground at the Gum Springs solar project site. From left: Jayver Luque, GM of Veolia Gum Springs; Derek Dyson, Today’s Power president and CEO; Colby Wells, CEO of South Central Electric Cooperative; Britt Scheer, Veolia Gum Springs director of facility affairs; and Learon Dalby, Today’s Power COO

Veolia North America has partnered with Today’s Power Inc. to install a 5 MW single-axis tracking solar energy system at its hazardous waste treatment facility in Gum Springs, Arkansas. The solar array is expected to produce more than 250 GWh over the next 25 years, making the Gum Springs plant the only one of its kind in the United State to capture and generate as much power as it uses on an annual basis.

The solar facility will be operational by the fourth quarter of 2024. The electricity from the solar panels will be used to meet the facility’s daily demands, with any excess going to feed the region’s main grid, leading to net zero output.

The project will make significant contributions to decarbonization, offsetting carbon emissions at the plant by an estimated 105,000 tons over the next 25 years. Along with the solar installation, Veolia is taking several other initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment at Gum Springs, including a plan to reforest nearly 1,500 acres surrounding the property to sequester carbon emissions, provide protection for local habitat and prevent erosion.

“This investment to bring clean, renewable power to our Gum Springs operation is a reflection of Veolia North America’s commitment to environmental sustainability and leading the ecological transformation,” said Bob Cappadona, president and CEO of Veolia’s environmental solutions and services division, which oversees the Gum Springs project. “As a leading provider of environmental services to communities across the U.S., we have an obligation to ensure that the facilities we operate are equipped to limit our impact on the environment as much as possible.”

Veolia currently employs 136 people at the Gum Springs waste treatment facility, an increase from 61 employees when the company began operating in Clark County in 2020. The company expects to employ more than 200 people at Gum Springs by 2025.

To make room for the new solar panels, Veolia recently cleared a 30-acre lot across the street from the facility. The cleared timber, amounting to over 4,300 tons of mixed hardwood and pine timber, was harvested for building materials that sequester carbon.

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