Solar power plant near Port Allen switching on in September
PORT ALLEN – In less than three months, the switch at a solar power plant near Port Allen will be turned on, providing enough energy to power 9,600 homes.
“The final panels will be installed over the next 10 days, as well as some of the final electrical components,” Andy Nyce said.
Nyce is the project manager at DEPCOM Power, the company that constructed the massive plant spanning more than 500 acres over the last year. Once it's turned on in early September, the solar panels will produce 50 megawatts of renewable energy, all going to Entergy.
“We have estimated that this project will provide economic benefits to our customers, so much so that the benefits of the project will outweigh the cost,” said Jonathon Bourg, the director of resource planning at Entergy.
Over the next 20 years, Entergy estimates the company and its customers will recognize $29 million in net benefits from the facility, though it’s unlikely customers will see a cheaper monthly bill right away. That's due to how efficient the solar panels are. To soak up the most sun, the panels will actually be moving throughout the day.
“They're on a single-axle tracking system. So through the day, they'll start in the morning facing east and slowly track the sun throughout the day and then return to the stoic position, which is 0 degrees in the evening,” Nyce said.
The movement allows the panels to generate 25 to 30 percent more energy, which it will start collecting in the next couple of months.
This is Entergy's first solar project, but they are looking to expand and add an additional 250 megawatts of solar resources in the future somewhere in southeast Louisiana.