LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Entergy Arkansas customers who became part of the Solar Energy Purchase Option – Option B in the fall of 2020 have already begun to reap savings from the clean, renewable energy generated at the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center.
Participating agencies are projected to save about $60 million dollars 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 Superintendent Robby Lowe of the Junction City School District, “and it’s $2,000 less than the same time the year before. Unless we’ve suddenly gotten really good at saving energy, the program is quickly saving us significant money.”
Based on 2019 energy usage, Junction City is estimated to save nearly $35,000 annually with its subscription while benefitting the community and the environment.
Some of the participating school districts across the state include Bergman, Bismarck, Blytheville, Bryant, Dawson, Drew, Flippin, Glen Rose, Gosnell, Harrisburg, Harrison, Hermitage, Jessieville, Lawrence County, Magnolia, Manila, Mountain Home, Parker, Pottsville, Poyen, Valley Springs and Yellville-Summit.
“We have an obligation to our students to provide the best education we can, and sometimes that comes down to basic math. Jessieville School District will save a little over $50,000 each year, which can be used in other ways to support our students – from better science labs to more field trips,” Superintendent Melissa Speers said upon initiating the district’s contract. “We’re happy to subscribe to an option that’s a good investment for the planet – and our children’s future.”
Brought online in 2018, Stuttgart Solar was the first of three approved Entergy Arkansas solar facilities and generates 81 megawatts of power, half of which is dedicated to the tax-exempt subscribers who contracted for power through their Solar Energy Purchase Option subscription.
The solar tariff was approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission in mid-September 2020, and customers were enrolled on a first-come, first-serve basis. 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 Commission might authorize from Entergy Arkansas.
By participating in this program, customers will save between 18 and 28 percent on their electricity costs, while still helping to support maintenance of the grid and lowering the cost shift incurred by all other customers without solar systems.
“Entergy Arkansas is committed to providing safe, reliable, renewable energy to our customers through continued innovation,” said Michael Considine, vice president of customer service. “The result is our utility-scale solar projects save all customers money over time, but this program is especially helpful to tax-exempt customers who already have tight budgets.”
As more solar resources are created, officials said Entergy Arkansas hopes to provide more innovative programs to its customers.