Crews begin installing solar panels in massive Port Allen plant
PORT ALLEN – Thousands of solar panels are starting to be installed in a massive plant in West Baton Rouge Parish. The project is still months away from completion, but the recent progress on the site makes it obvious how big of an impact the plant will have on the area.
“Oh it’s much larger than we thought it would be,” said Jack Craven whose house is now surrounded by small steel structures. “We thought it was just some small ones in the front but they go way back.”
This will be the largest solar power plant in the state. It’s spanning across both sides of Rosedale Rd. in Port Allen covering 566 acres.
“That’s why we call it solar panel city,” joked Craven.
An Arizona-based company is developing the project. After months of construction the solar panels are starting to be installed in waves.
“They have some local contractors doing a lot of the work,” said West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley ‘PeeWee’ Berthelot.
Berthelot is welcoming the project noting that it will bring in a good amount of sales tax revenue. Once complete, Entergy will purchase the output from the plant under a 20-year agreement.
The company says customers should see a cheaper bill when this happens. Entergy expects customers to save $29 million over 20 years.
All solar panels are expected to be installed by late May. Pending any unforeseen delays, officials say the plant is scheduled to begin generating power to the grid by late summer 2020.
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