Conway Corp photo

A rendering shows what Conway Corporation’s 132 megawatt solar project will look like once completed. The facility will be located on 700 acres near Happy, Arkansas, northeast from Little Rock.

A 20-year purchase power agreement between Conway Corporation and Lighthouse BP was unanimously approved Friday by Conway Corporation’s Board of Directors during a Zoom meeting.

The agreement is for the development of a 132 megawatt direct current solar energy project in White County.

“We’re really excited about it,” Conway Corp Power Supply and Major Accounts Assistant Director Michael Chapman said. “We worked hard and the economics of the deal worked for us. This also checks other boxes that we’re always looking at in terms of reliability, affordability and being environmentally sound. This hits everything that we try to do.”

The deal will see Lighthouse BP, a global solar leader, serve as the financier, the builder, the owner and the operator of the facility that is set to generate solar energy to deliver to Conway Corp.

The project will span 700 acres approximately 55 miles northeast of Little Rock in Happy, Arkansas.

It is projected that 21,400 homes will receive electricity generated by the solar project. In addition to powering homes, the project is also essential in reducing Conway’s carbon footprint by the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 35,270 fuel-burning cars.

Chapman said it had required board approval because the purchase power agreement checked all the boxes that were required for approval.

“Our policy requires board approval for transactions that have three triggers: transactions exceeding maturity limit by 42 months, term limit by 730 days or notional dollar value of $5,000,000,” he said.

The proposal matured at 276 months, a term limit over 7,300 days and an estimated notional value of $124,418,647.

“It’s a watershed moment for us,” Conway Corp CEO Bret Carroll said. “It’s one of these things that we worked a long time toward. It’s very gratifying at this point in time with the work. I can’t overemphasize the work that Michael and his team have put in. I’m very appreciative of the work that we’ve done.”

The project is scheduled to go live by the end of 2022, but Chapman said it could have an earlier start date.

“The scheduled date for this to be online is Dec. 31, 2022,” he said. “The process stretched out a little bit because of the interconnection process. A contract would not be able to be drawn up until July 2021. After that, it takes them about nine months to a year to construct. I wouldn’t be surprised if it came online sooner than December 2022, but that’s the scheduled date.”

Board Director Tom Courtway said this is one of the more important projects he has seen Conway Corp undertake in the time he’s been on the board.

“I just want to thank the management and everyone that worked on this,” he said. “This is something that we’ve been working on for a few years. I think in my time on the board, this may be one of the most significant things we’ve undertaken. Clearly, the sewer treatment plant was a significant step in the history of the city and Conway Corp, but this moving into the area of solar power and what we’ve done here is most significant. I appreciate their work.”

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