Entergy Arkansas customers who joined the utility’s Solar Energy Purchase Option B program in fall 2020 have already begun to reap savings from the clean power generated at the 81 MW Stuttgart Solar Energy Center.
According to Entergy Arkansas, participating agencies are projected to save about $60 million over the lifetime of the solar facility.
Of the 61 subscribed customers, 26 are schools, which will save an estimated $39 million over the next 18 years. The remaining subscribed entities – including cities and counties, water treatment plants, churches, and nonprofits – will save nearly $21 million.
“From October to November, our energy bill went down by $2,700,” said Robby Lowe, superintendent of the Junction City School District.
The Jessieville School District is expected to save over $50,000 annually. Superintendent Melissa Speers said that extra money can now go toward more efforts to support students, including anything “from better science labs to more field trips.”
Owned and operated by NextEra, Stuttgart Solar came online in 2018 and is contracted exclusively to Entergy Arkansas. It was the first of three approved Entergy Arkansas solar facilities.
Half of the 81 MW project’s power is dedicated to tax-exempt subscribers under the Solar Energy Purchase Option program. The solar tariff was approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) in mid-September 2020, and customers were enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Entergy Arkansas noted that all available energy is currently under contract, with more than 60 entities enrolled and at least that many on the waiting list for any future Solar Energy Purchase Options the PSC might authorize.
By participating in this program, customers are expected to save between 18% and 28% on their electricity costs, while still helping to support grid maintenance and lowering the cost shift incurred by all other customers without solar systems.
Michael Considine, Entergy Arkansas’ vice president of customer service, said this program is “especially helpful to tax-exempt customers who already have tight budgets.”
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