Entergy announced yesterday that the Arkansas Public Service Commission approved a new 100-MW utility-scale solar project that will include 10 MW/ 30-MWh of lithium-ion battery storage for when the sun isn’t shining.
The Searcy Solar project will be built on approximately 800 acres in White County and will include be the largest utility-owned solar project in the state and the first to feature battery storage, according to Entergy.
When completed in 2021, it will be the third project generating solar energy for Entergy Arkansas’ customers, bringing the total of solar energy capacity to 281 MW. Other projects include the 81-MW Stuttgart Solar Energy Center built in 2018 and the 100-MW Chicot Solar plant, which is under construction near Lake Village and expected to be complete this year.
“This large solar facility will be a very effective economic development tool as we work to attract new employers and retain our existing businesses. Many corporations have renewable energy and sustainability objectives,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “This facility, combined with Entergy’s other large solar facilities in Arkansas, will help us strengthen and grow the state’s economy.”
“This is welcome news for the area,” said Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy. “This large solar project provides a much-needed economic benefit to Searcy and White County. It will provide construction-related jobs and a long-term, low-cost renewable resource.”
The Searcy Solar facility will bring 200 temporary construction jobs and two or three permanent jobs, along with periodic maintenance workers. It also will provide about $700,000 in annual property taxes as well as environmental benefits through emissions-free energy.