The largest solar facility in the state could soon call Port Allen home.
Several solar energy plants have had their eyes on the parish in recent years, Parish President Riley “PeeWee” Berthelot said. Eagle Solar Group has also eyed properties in parishes around the state. Right now the ball is in Eagle Solar Group’s court, Berthelot said.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission has to approve the project first, then it will need the approval of the West Baton Rouge Parish Council, School Board, and Sheriff.
The Parish was approached by the company two years ago. Berthelot said he has not spoken with representatives of the company in more than six months. The low impact of the project on the environment, traffic and schools appealed to Berthelot and other parish leaders he said. The largest benefit for the parish will be the boost in sales tax revenue generated from the project, which will benefit the fire district, local schools and Sheriff’s Office Berthelot said.
Entergy Louisiana recently signed a 20-year agreement with LA3 West Baton Rouge, L.L.C., a subsidiary of Eagle Solar Group, L.L.C., to buy the output of the proposed plant once it is up and running.
The solar project, which will cover about 500 acres of land on Rosedale Road, will produce enough electricity to power approximately 9,500 homes, or offset nearly 19,000 passenger vehicles’ emissions in one year, a release from Entergy said. It will consist of ground-mounted solar panels that track the sun’s movement throughout the day to produce up to 50 megawatts of electricity. It is scheduled to be in commercial operation by March 2020.
“We are excited to collaborate with Entergy Louisiana to develop and build the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the state. This project will provide Entergy Louisiana’s customers a sustainable, clean, and competitively priced source of electricity. We intend to source services and talent locally as much as possible, to maximize the economic benefit to the community,” CEO of Eagle Solar Group William Lee said.
The solar plant will generate 350 jobs during construction with an emphasis on hiring local and hiring U.S. veterans, according to a release by Entergy. The project will bring approximately $6.4 million in tax revenue to the surrounding region over the next 30 years. Additionally, Eagle and its affiliates will allocate a percentage of their investment for donation back to local charitable community organizations, the release said.
“This plant will add another source of emission-free energy to our generation mix that already includes the two largest sources of clean energy in Louisiana – our Waterford 3 and River Bend nuclear units – as well as 180 megawatts of existing hydro, biomass and waste heat recovery resources,” president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana Phillip May said.
“Our strategy is to continue improving our environmental footprint through the addition of new sources of generation that meet the needs of our customers for clean, affordable energy,” May said.