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ENVIRONMENTAL NOTEBOOK: Charge site rebate recipients chosen | Bank OZK starts on solar power plant

by Ashton Eley | June 6, 2021 at 8:31 a.m.

Charge site rebate recipients chosen

The Department of Energy and Environment announced the first rebate recipients of the Level 2 Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Program on Thursday.

The department's Division of Environmental Quality's Energy Office announced nine rebate recipients for the program, which launched in February.

The recipients are: Pine Bluff's Arts and Science Center; Little Rock Technology Park; cities of Lonoke, Eureka Springs, Siloam Springs, Hot Springs; Mississippi County Electric Cooperative; Promenade Hospitality; and Burgundy Hotel, according to a news release.

The program provides rebates for installation of Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations, which can charge electric vehicles in eight hours or fewer using a 240-volt output, according to the department. The office launched the program to support the growth of charging infrastructure in the state and improve its standing in electric vehicle adoption.

"Arkansas is the Natural State for a reason," department Secretary Becky Keogh said in the release. "We have some of the cleanest air in America. This infrastructure helps us continue that strong tradition of clean air."

The program is using nearly $1 million from Volkswagen's environmental mitigation fund to provide rebates to public and private applicants that install the charging stations. The office has allocated $215,563 each year through 2024. More than $100,000 remains available for the 2021 program year, according to the news release.

Bank OZK starts on solar power plant

Bank OZK broke ground on a $6 million solar power plant in Stuttgart on Thursday morning.

Once complete, the 4.8-megawatt array will produce enough electricity to power the Bank's new corporate headquarters in Little Rock and up to 40 Bank OZK locations in the state, according to a bank news release.

The bank says this will be the largest renewable-energy investment by a financial services company in Arkansas and the state's third-largest commercial solar facility dedicated to a private sector customer.

"An industry innovator, Bank OZK has a bold vision for the future, which includes a strong commitment to sustainable and clean energy," said Tim Hicks, chief credit and administrative officer at Bank OZK. "This solar power plant will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint by 160,000 tons over the next 30 years."

The project plans were approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in March. Scenic Hill Solar will oversee construction of the 11,000-panel array.

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