Arkansas County's Grand Prairie will soon become home to an 81 MW photovoltaic solar energy generating facility, the state's largest solar power plant, according to Entergy Arkansas.
Plans call for the emissions-free renewable energy facility to be connected to Entergy Arkansas' transmission grid no later than mid-2019. The first step will be for Entergy Arkansas to secure approval from the Arkansas Public Service Commission.
The project will consist of an array of stationary solar panels covering nearly 500 acres and will be capable of generating enough clean energy to power about 13,000 homes. A new substation will be built in Arkansas County to interconnect the solar facility to Entergy Arkansas' transmission system.
As part of the planning process for the project, Entergy Arkansas entered into a power purchase agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the developer of the solar facility, for all of the energy and environmental attributes, including all renewable energy credits available from the project. The agreement fixes the energy price for the 20-year term of the contract, an important benefit for all Entergy Arkansas customers, and is estimated to provide approximately $25 million of savings over its 20-year term.
During the construction phase, NextEra Energy Resources expects to employ about 200-300 workers and anticipates that tax contributions to the State of Arkansas will be approximately $8 million.
In addition to this solar project, from 2014 to 2017, Entergy Arkansas plans to invest $2.4 billion on generation, transmission and distribution improvements to the state's electrical infrastructure.