Proposal filed for 500 MW of Louisiana industrial solar and workforce development


Solar developer Distributed Sun announced it has filed for an Industrial Shared Solar pilot program, installing 250 MW of solar in Entergy Louisiana territory and 250 MW in other utility territories.

The Industrial Shared Solar projects operate similarly to community solar projects in other states, but instead offer industrial customers the opportunity to subscribe to renewable capacity. Under the shared solar program, project owners are required to contribute 10% of subscription revenues before profits in workforce development and community reinvestment.

The proposal includes $82 million of reinvestment commitments in Louisiana communities, which would be generated from revenues created by the solar facilities. Two-thirds of the investment, $55 million, will be allocated to reinvestment in communities with high levels of carbon emissions from industrial activities. Distributed Sun said the funds would be eligible for matching grants. The company said the carbon-heavy community reinvestment funds would be used for power resiliency and pollution mitigation programs.

The other roughly one-third of the reinvestment program, $27 million, would fund a workforce development program that would target the areas where the new solar projects are being built. Tenant farmers will receive preferential consideration for the workforce development program.

Under the program, employees are enrolled in corporate apprentice and internship programs to obtain education and experience in the solar industry. Distributed Sun said initial funds target the long-term employment of 192 local area residents.

Management of the workforce development process and of the community reinvestment funds will be conducted by third parties with experience in working with local communities.

Louisiana is set to considerably raise its commitment to solar energy, as its largest utility, Entergy, recently filed with the Public Service Commission to add 3 GW of more solar capacity on top of the 225 MW it had requested in early March.

“Like never before, our state has opportunity to retain businesses, support expansion projects and attract new companies on a global scale, but it’s going to take meeting their operational and sustainability needs,” said Entergy Louisiana president and chief executive Phillip May.

In June 2022, Entergy Corp. discussed plans for generating up to 7 GW of renewable resources by the end of 2025, and as much as 14 GW to 17 GW of renewable resources by the end of 2031.

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