Entergy New Orleans Inc. recently hosted elected officials, community leaders and other dignitaries at existing company property to break ground on what the utility says is the city’s first utility-scale solar project. The 1 MW pilot project, which is expected to be in service by mid-2016, will consist of over 4,000 solar panels and integrate battery-storage technology.
“This pilot project is of great value to our customers,” says Charles Rice, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans. “One of the issues with solar panels is availability on cloudy days, at night or generating enough electricity at the right time of day when energy usage peaks. Our pilot project will evaluate the ability to store and deliver solar energy to the electricity grid when customers need it – not just when the sun is shining.”
Blattner Energy, a diversified power generation contractor, will begin construction on the New Orleans project this month, and local panel installation company South Coast Solar will assist.
Entergy Corp, the utility’s parent company, says it is working across its operating companies to gain the necessary information and expertise to help make renewables a viable, cost-effective option for customers. Besides the New Orleans project, other solar projects are under way in Arkansas and Mississippi.