Entergy Arkansas LLC and NextEra Energy Resources LLC have announced plans to build a 100 MW solar energy facility in White County, Ark.
The project, pending approval by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, will be Arkansas’ largest utility-owned solar facility, as well as the state’s first solar-plus-storage project, the partners claim.
The facility, along with Entergy’s other current solar projects, would enable the company to offer its customers a total of 281 MW of solar energy, enough to power about 45,000 homes. Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties.
The project, expected to be in service by 2021, will be designed and built by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources and, upon completion, will be purchased by Entergy Arkansas. The facility will be built on approximately 800 acres east of Eastline Rd. in Searcy.
Currently, Entergy Arkansas purchases 81 MW of solar energy from NextEra Energy Resources at a project near Stuttgart. The company will also purchase another 100 MW of energy from NextEra Energy Resources’ Chicot Solar project at Lake Village when the plant comes online in 2020.
The Searcy project will include battery storage capable of storing up to 30 MWh of electricity. The stored energy is expected to be charged and discharged daily to maximize the value of the solar energy.
“Our customers want to see solar in our resource portfolio, and we are listening and responding,” comments Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “We want all of our customers to have the benefit of solar energy, and we also want to help individual customers meet their renewable energy goals. In addition to adding solar to our generation mix, we’ve also received approval of a solar energy tariff from the Arkansas Public Service Commission, which will give our customers the option of purchasing solar power to help meet their renewable energy objectives. It’s really an exciting time as we look to meeting the future energy needs of our customers.”