John Bethel, Director of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, made a visit to the home of Mike and Faith Shah on Monday, September 15, 2014, to see their solar power system. The sky was cloudy as he arrived at their Carroll County home, but the sun soon came out in full force.
Mike Shah, a board member of Save the Ozarks, and his wife Faith are among a growing number of families and businesses in this region who are striving for energy self-reliance. Their photovoltaic system has recently surpassed the 13 megawatt mark in electricity production.
Sunlight is the`fuel’ for solar power systems like the Shahs’. Sunlight is not only a free fuel, it is a carbon-free fuel. This means that the Shahs and others with solar power systems are reducing their contribution to the carbon releases that cause global warming.
The Arkansas Public Service Commission will eventually approve or deny the Shipe Road – Kings River Project, the proposal by AEP-SWEPCO to construct an extra-high voltage transmission line through the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri. So far, neither the Commission nor the utility company has taken into consideration the rapid development of solar power in the region and its potential to reduce the need for grid-supplied power.
Save the Ozarks supports alternative energy production, particularly distributed solar energy. By taking the initiative to secure our own energy future, we can better ensure that the beauty and environmental sanctity of the Ozarks is preserved for our children and our children’s children on into the future.
Shown in the photo, left to right, Robert Booth, head of gas section at APSC, John Bethel, APSC’s executive director as well as its rural and community liaison, and Mike Shah. Photo courtesy of Faith Shah.