The Arkansas Public Service Commission has approved a 26 megawatt DC solar power plant with energy storage capability for Producers Rice Mill that will be the largest commercial solar and energy storage facility in the state.
Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock is developing the project, which sits on 160 acres of land in Stuttgart, and will be overseeing the construction of the solar plant.
This solar plant will feature more than 65,000 solar modules and is expected to produce more than 44,200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation. Over the course of 30 years, it is expected to generate 1,226,550,00 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
As a result, the solar plant will provide Producers with renewable energy for roughly 67 percent of its operational needs in Stuttgart. The energy storage will provide Producers with 40 megawatt-hours of capacity.
“We are thrilled at the approval of our innovative renewable energy project by the Arkansas Public Service Commission. We commend the Commissioners and Staff on their ground-breaking decision. We project savings of more than $100 million on our electricity bills over the next 30 years. These savings will be passed along to our more than 2,000 hard-working farm family members. This landmark project continues a proud tradition of our members improving the sustainability of growing and processing rice, while providing one of the world’s most important foods,” Producers Rice Mill CEO Keith Glover said in a statement.
Scenic Hill Solar estimates that the solar plant will reduce Producers’ car emissions by 895,000 metric tons.
“We are delighted to improve our environment while reducing electricity costs for our members. Rice Farmers have a proven track record of quantified positive results that reduce our impact on Greenhouse Gas Emissions. We have worked hard for decades to be mindful of our impact on the environment,” Producers Rice Mill board chairman Jay Coker said. “This is a testament of PRM being able to identify and pursue an opportunity that will accomplish our goals of being an innovative leader in conservation, participating in sustainable agriculture practices and embracing renewable energy, while at the same time benefitting our farmer family members. This new solar power plant will allow us to reduce our energy usage by two thirds from current levels.”
Producers and Scenic Hill Solar announced the project in November 2019, with Glover stating that the project was projected to save Producers $100 million in electricity costs over 30 years.
“We anticipate this project will result in two-thirds of the electricity consumption at our Stuttgart operations being provided by solar power. We project savings of more than $100 million on our electricity bills over the next 30 years,” Glover said at the time. “These savings will be passed along to our more than 2,000 hard-working farm family members. This landmark project continues a proud tradition of our members improving the sustainability of growing and processing rice, while providing one of the world’s most important foods.”