State and local leaders joined executives from Entergy Arkansas and NextEra Energy Resources May 29 to celebrate the commissioning of Arkansas' largest universal solar energy project – the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center.
"Over our 105 years in business, Entergy Arkansas has generated power with sawdust, water, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and now the sun," said Rick Riley, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. "Through this investment with NextEra Energy Resources, we are further diversifying our power generation resource mix and providing Entergy Arkansas customers with access to additional clean, renewable and affordable energy."
"Solar energy is good for Arkansans and good for our economy," said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. "Arkansas has many great natural resources. It's wonderful we are now also utilizing the sun to provide clean energy to the state and drive our economy forward."
The Stuttgart Solar Energy Center spans 475 acres approximately seven miles southeast of Stuttgart, Ark. Construction lasted eight months and generated a significant economic boost to Arkansas County and the state by creating hundreds of construction jobs and stimulating the purchase of regional goods and services from more than a dozen local vendors.
"We are pleased to work with our partners at Entergy to bring the largest solar energy center in Arkansas online," said Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources, the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. "This solar energy project will provide millions of dollars in additional tax revenue to Arkansas County and will generate cost-effective, home-grown solar energy for Entergy customers for years to come."
The facility features more than 350,000 photovoltaic solar panels that convert the sun's energy into electricity. The solar energy center has a capacity to generate 81 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power more than 13,000 homes. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources built the facility and will own and operate it. The energy will serve Entergy Arkansas customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Over its operational life, the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center is expected to generate nearly $8 million in additional revenue for Arkansas County, with much of that funding going to help Arkansas County Public Schools.
"We are already seeing the project's impacts in Arkansas County through new jobs and school funding," said Bethany Hildebrand, executive director and CEO of the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce. "We are thrilled to host the state's largest solar facility and know it will continue to provide benefits to our community."
Communications Specialist II