The Arkansas Public Service Commission announced the approval of Driver Solar, a 312 MWdc solar facility developed by Lightsource bp. The project, to be located near a U.S. Steel plant, is expected to be large enough to power the equivalent of 40,000 homes. It is planned to reach commercial operations in late 2024.
The 2,100-acre project will be adjacent to U.S. Steel Corporation existing factory and a planned $3 billion expansion site.
“Driver Solar not only helps us meet our robust sustainability goals, but it will also help us deliver sustainable steel solutions for our customers,” said U. S. Steel senior vice president, chief strategy and sustainability officer Richard Fruehauf.
“The renewable energy generated will power the production of verdeXTM, our advanced sustainable steel product, which is composed of up to 90% recycled steel content, as well as other products produced at our Big River Works facility,” said Fruehauf.
Lightsource bp has completed development and permitting of the solar facility and will build the project under a build-transfer agreement with Entergy Arkansas. It is expected to bring 350 to 400 jobs during the construction phase.
The project is conservatively estimated to bring $36 million in property taxes to Mississippi County over 30 years of operation.
In November 2021, Lightsource bp announced a procurement deal with First Solar for 5.4 gigawatts of First Solar modules. The Driver Solar project is planned to be constructed using all U.S.-made First Solar modules. The facility will also be built with solar trackers manufactured by Albuquerque-based Array Technologies.
“Arkansas’ largest solar project will help build American-made sustainable steel, as well as create hundreds of U.S. jobs for construction and across the supply chain,” said Kevin Smith, Lighthouse bp CEO of the Americas.
Earlier this year, utility Entergy Arkansas issued a request for proposals for 1 GW of wind and solar resources. In June 2022, Entergy Corporation said it discussed plans for up to 7 GW of renewable resources by the end of 2025, and as much as 14 to 17 GW of renewable resources by the end of 2031.
“We are listening to our customers as we develop and execute our generation strategy for the future,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas.
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