The Arkansas Public Service Commission has approved a new utility-scale solar project that will provide Entergy Arkansas customers with 100 MW of solar power and 10 MW of battery storage for when the sun isn’t shining.
The Searcy Solar project in White County will be the largest utility-owned solar project in the state and the first to feature battery storage.
When completed in 2021, it will be the third project generating solar energy for Entergy Arkansas’ customers, bringing the total to 281 MW covering more than 2,000 acres — enough to power about 45,000 homes. The 81-MW Stuttgart Solar Energy Center has been online since 2018, and Chicot Solar, under construction near Lake Village, will provide 100 MW of solar power when it comes online later this year.
“Entergy Arkansas is proud to be leading the charge in expanding solar power in our state, and we are committed to meeting our customers’ energy needs reliably, affordably and safely as we have done for over 100 years,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “Large-scale solar facilities provide the most cost-effective solar power for all customers, keeping rates low while delivering the best value for renewables in Arkansas.”
“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 Mike Preston, Arkansas secretary of commerce. “This facility, combined with Entergy’s other large solar facilities in Arkansas, will help us strengthen and grow the state’s economy.”
The Searcy Solar project will be built on approximately 800 acres east of Eastline Road in Searcy and will include a 10-MW of lithium-ion batteries capable of storing up to 30 MWh of electricity, which is expected to be charged and discharged daily.
“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 create 200 temporary construction jobs and two or three permanent jobs, along with periodic maintenance work. It also will provide about $700,000 in annual property taxes as well as environmental benefits through emissions-free energy.
“I’m excited to have this large solar facility constructed in Searcy. This will enhance our local economy and tax base,” said Rep. Les Eaves (R-Searcy). “I appreciate Entergy leadership in renewable energy and economic development.”