Local leaders joined executives from NextEra Energy Resources and Entergy Arkansas this morning to break ground on Arkansas’ largest universal solar energy project – the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center. “We are pleased to work with our partners at Entergy to bring low-cost, renewable energy to their customers and introduce the first universal solar project of this scale in Arkansas,” said Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources. “This project will bring good jobs, tax benefits and affordable, renewable energy to the state for decades to come.”
The Stuttgart Solar Energy Center will span 475 acres, approximately seven miles southeast of Stuttgart, AR. Construction will last approximately nine months. Once complete, the facility will feature more than 350,000 photovoltaic solar panels that convert the sun’s energy into electricity. The solar energy center will have a capacity to generate 81 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power more than 13,000 homes. An affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources is developing the project and will build, own and operate it. The energy will serve Entergy Arkansas customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
“This project allows Entergy Arkansas to diversify our power generation in the state and provide our customers with access to emissions-free, renewable energy at a good price,” said Rick Riley, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “In NextEra Energy Resources we have an experienced partner to build and operate a project that will deliver tremendous value to our customers.” The project will create a significant economic boost for Arkansas County, creating up to 250 jobs during the construction phase. From labor and materials, to housing, health care and construction – a wide variety of local businesses will benefit from the influx of economic activity.
“This project will provide good jobs, and Arkansas County businesses will benefit from the extra activity, too,” 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 help realize the benefits it can bring to our community.” 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. “I know our county and school district will look at all of the opportunities these funds will provide,” said Arkansas County Judge Eddie Best. “The funds will be a big boost to many of the school district and county’s future projects and we couldn’t be happier to welcome this facility to our community.”