NextEra Energy Resources and Entergy Arkansas celebrated the completion of the largest universal solar energy project in Arkansas — the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center.
“Solar energy is good for Arkansans and good for our economy,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “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 in Almyra, about seven miles southeast of Stuttgart, was built on 475 acres and includes more than 350,000 photovoltaic solar panels, with the capacity to generate 81 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 13,000 homes. Construction was completed in eight months, and in the peak of construction, the project created more than 300 construction jobs.
“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 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.”
A subsidiary of NextEra Energy built the center and will own it. The center will provide electricity for Entergy Arkansas customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
“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.”
Throughout its operational life, the center will generate nearly $8 million for Arkansas County, and much of the funding from the center is expected 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.”