The city of Clarksville will cut the ribbon today on what’s said to be the state’s largest solar-powered municipal utility plant.

Its backers say it will save customers $500,000 a year while reducing carbon emissions.

Clarksville Light and Water signed a contract for the plant last year with Scenic Hill Solar and it’s finished ahead of schedule.

From a news release:


“We believe small communities can think and do big things. Our partnership with Scenic Hill Solar differentiates Clarksville by providing a local power generation resource, increases our already sizable portfolio of non-emitting power supply resources, positions our community as forward thinking, and yet our customers save money at the same time.” said Clarksville Light & Water Co. general manager John Lester. “In fact, with more businesses looking to increase their sustainability efforts, Clarksville is well positioned to help them meet their goals by CLW energy supply being approximately 50% renewable. In fact, as a municipal utility we have the flexibility to be able to provide a 100% renewable supply to potential new business if they have interest,” remarked Lester.

The plant will produce 25 percent of the utility’s residential load.

Bill Halter, the former lieutenant governor, is CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. I asked him yesterday about the tariffs just proposed by the Trump administration on solar industry imports. He was careful, saying, in sum: The tariffs will increase the cost of solar projects, but that all knew that China had been dumping products in the U.S.  He also expressed confidence that the move to renewable energy would remain a cost-saving and growing option for commercial use. KUAR talked at length with Halter about the issue.


The announcement today includes the gift from a variety of commercial and charitable sources in support of the effort for a total of $100,000, with a primary beneficiary the Johnson County Imagination Library, which provides a book a month to Johnson County children for the first five years of their lives. Contributions will also go to the Augsburg Food Bank, Finding Hope, Heroes on the Water and Union Rescue Mission.