New solar facility coming to Mississippi County

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:54 PM CDT
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OSCEOLA, Ark. (KAIT) - A new push for renewable energy is hitting Mississippi County.

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Entergy Arkansas announced its Driver Solar project was approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

The company said the 250-megawatt facility located on Highway 61 near Osceola would be its largest solar project and capable of generating enough energy for more than 40,000 homes.

“Driver Solar adds highly economic, renewable generation to our portfolio, further diversifying our energy mix in a way that meets our customers’ evolving expectations,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “It is a key contribution toward business expansion in Northeast Arkansas, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

A news release stated the project is expected to create 350 to 400 jobs and utilize the local workforce and subcontractors.

“The Driver Solar project is another demonstration of how solar can power our country’s industry with cost-competitive, clean, dependable electricity,” said Kevin Smith, Lightsource bp’s CEO of the Americas. “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.”

Property taxes associated with Entergy Arkansas’ ownership of the project are estimated at $1.2 million for Mississippi County annually over the life of the project or roughly $36 million in 30 years.

“Driver Solar enables U. S. Steel to grow its business in Arkansas, meet their sustainability goals, and further demonstrates how the State of Arkansas and Entergy Arkansas support companies that provide high-paying jobs grow in the state,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston.

The project is expected to be completed by late 2024.

The move comes after electric car manufacturer Envirotech Vehicles announced in February it would locate a multi-million dollar plant in the city. Officials said they planned to hire up to 800 workers over the next 10 years.