(STL.News) The Chicot Solar Energy Center began operation Sept. 30. The facility has a peak capacity of 100 megawatts of energy powered by the sun, enough to power 18,000 Entergy Arkansas customers’ homes.
“We are proud to be the largest provider of solar energy in the state, as utility-scale solar projects like Chicot Solar allow all of our customers to have access to clean, renewable power at the lowest reasonable costs,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, LLC. “We continue to examine new technologies and projects to bring customers new, innovative solutions to meet their energy needs while creating value for everyone.”
A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources owns and operates Chicot Solar. Entergy Arkansas has a 20-year purchase agreement for the power Chicot Solar will generate.
“We are pleased to help Entergy bring more renewable energy to its customers and expand solar energy generation in Arkansas,” said Matt Handel, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. “This solar energy project will provide millions of dollars in additional tax revenue for Chicot County and generate cost-effective, home-grown solar energy for Entergy customers for years to come.”
This is the second in four solar facilities Entergy Arkansas is adding to its mix of power generation. The facility sits on 825 acres near Lake Village and boasts 350,000 solar panels.
Entergy Arkansas supports solar energy as part of a diverse generating mix for several reasons, including environmental cleanliness, economic benefits to communities and cost savings for customers. The solar facilities increase the electrical power supply and enhance voltage levels on the surrounding grid, both of which contribute to improved service reliability and availability.
Additionally, the Chicot Solar Energy Center is expected to generate nearly $7 million in additional revenue for Chicot County. Much of that funding will go to Chicot County Public Schools.
Entergy Arkansas is continuing its effort to deliver needed electrical generation by replacing a portion of its older fossil-fueled power units with more green resources that address clean-air issues.
Entergy Arkansas currently owns or operates two nuclear generating units that supply most of the company’s power generating needs. Additionally, Entergy Arkansas owns or operates four hydroelectric plants, one large natural-gas fueled steam electric generation station, three combined-cycle gas turbine generating facilities and four coal-fueled generating units that will be phased out by 2030.
In addition, Entergy Arkansas purchases capacity and associated energy from the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Mississippi. The company has executed three renewable-energy resource agreements with Stuttgart Solar, Chicot Solar and Searcy Solar for approximately 281 megawatts.
Combined with the Walnut Bend Solar Project, these solar-energy projects will generate 381 megawatts of power – enough to operate approximately 61,000 homes. Collectively, these various energy resources provide Entergy Arkansas with approximately 5,366 megawatts of generating capability to serve its customers in 2020-21 and beyond.
The Chicot Solar Energy Center is another important milestone in Entergy’s broader plan to modernize and transform the Entergy Utility’s existing power generation fleet. Recently, Entergy announced a commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In addition to providing reliable, cost-effective power, Entergy’s investments in its generation portfolio transformation and nuclear improvements since 2000 have resulted in substantial reductions in the company’s carbon emissions, highlighting Entergy’s leadership in sustainability and environmental stewardship.