Entergy Arkansas is pleased to provide affordable, efficient, and reliable electricity to industrial, commercial, agricultural and residential customers that meets electricity needs today and for years to come. To support continued improvement of the environment in a cost-effective and responsible way, options to meet customer expectations, electrical load growth, and service reliability, it is necessary to build new generation resources to replace older units, provide energy sources for new or expanding customers and improve existing electrical facilities. Specifically, Entergy Arkansas is excited to introduce Driver Solar, a new 250 MW solar project in Mississippi County.
Over time Entergy Arkansas is continuing its efforts to replace a portion of its older fossil-fueled power units with more environmentally sensitive resources to address clean air issues while delivering needed electrical generation. Entergy Arkansas currently owns or operates two nuclear generating units, which supply the majority of Entergy Arkansas’ generating needs; additionally, Entergy Arkansas currently owns or operates four hydroelectric plants, one large natural-gas fueled steam electric generation station, three combined-cycle gas turbine generating facilities, and four coal-fueled generating units. In addition, Entergy Arkansas purchases capacity and associated energy from the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Mississippi. Entergy Arkansas also purchases energy from or owns three solar facilities: Stuttgart Solar, Chicot Solar and Searcy Solar for approximately 281 megawatts. Finally, Entergy Arkansas also is in the process of adding Walnut Bend Solar and West Memphis Solar for another 280 megawatts. In total, Entergy Arkansas will generate 811 megawatts of solar power – enough to operate approximately 130,000 homes. Collectively, these various energy resources provide Entergy Arkansas with approximately 6,000 megawatts of generating capability to serve its customers in 2024 and beyond.
Driver Solar will be designed and built by a subsidiary of Lightsource bp. Upon applicable regulatory approval, Entergy Arkansas will purchase the facility after construction. The facility is expected to be in commercial service by 2024. Lightsource bp is a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects since 2010. Together with their 50:50 joint venture partner bp, they deliver competitively priced, safe, dependable, clean energy for businesses and communities in the US and all over the world.
Benefits of Driver Solar
The proposed project is a new solar powered generation station that would provide up to 250 megawatts of power on approximately 2,100 acres in Mississippi County. The Driver Solar Project will increase electricity supply and enhance voltage levels on the surrounding grid, both of which contribute to improved service reliability and availability.
The actual footprint will be configured on the property to avoid impacts to natural and human resources as well as other obstacles or constraints. This land has been used primarily for agriculture and is adjacent to the substation to which it will connect. The solar site property is south of Osceola and just west of the Big River Steel plant. It lies north and south of Highway 61 near Carson Lake Road and Highway 198.
The facility will be connected to the Driver 230kV Substation, which is directly adjacent to the site.
- Ongoing: Development (Activities include solar resource assessment, environmental studies, interconnection studies, and permitting)
- 2022-2023: Construction
- 2024: Operations
Driver Solar is expected to provide between approximately 350 and 400 jobs during the construction phase; generally, workers and vendors are sourced locally.
During the operational life of the resource, EAL expects to employ outside services for project site maintenance, such as land management and vegetation control, operations office rent, operations team payroll and other items that are expected to have a local impact. Local businesses such as restaurants, stores and hotels also could benefit indirectly from the infusion of construction workers and activity during the construction portion of the project.
Input from our customers, area residents and community leaders is essential in developing an effective and efficient project plan. Lightsource bp and Entergy Arkansas welcome any comments that you may have by emailing email@example.com or calling 501-213-0706.
Public Open House
In light of COVID-19 concerns, Entergy Arkansas developed this webpage for the public to review the proposed project requirements in lieu of an in-person open house. Residents with questions or comments can send an email to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call for more information at 501-213-0706.
Notice to Landowners
All landowners of record on or near the proposed project area will be notified.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the project's timeframe?
While this project must be approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, construction is expected to begin in 2022 or 2023, with completion scheduled for 2024.
Should I be concerned about safety issues?
Lightsource bp and Entergy Arkansas’ top priority is to have a safe, accident-free environment. Detailed on-site safety measures will be developed to meet the specific needs of the project, community and impacted areas.
Solar energy is reliable, abundant and affordable. Solar power is quickly dropping in cost to become competitive with wind and natural gas.
How does solar work?
Solar panels are designed to capture the natural power of the sun and convert it into electricity. Solar photovoltaic cells were invented in 1954, but the energy crisis of the 1970's was the first real deployment of solar panels for homes and businesses. As panel efficiency has increased with improved technology, costs have decreased. As the industry increases in size, economies of scale cause further reductions in the cost of solar.
Can panels withstand a natural disaster?
Like any structure, including our houses, power lines and office buildings, solar installations are not indestructible. However, solar facilities are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions specific to the site and will be compliant with all building codes.
How big is the Driver Project?
The site in Mississippi County covers approximately 2,100 acres. How big is 2,100 acres? The Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville covers about 14 acres. So about 150 Razorback Stadiums would fit inside the project’s footprint.
Where should I report issues and concerns regarding this project?
If you have any questions about the project, please contact us at email@example.com or calling 501-213-0706.