July 1, 2021
The push for solar power and renewable energy, combined with interest from huge utility companies like Cleco, Lafayette Utilities System, and Entergy, is seeing Louisiana receiving yet another proposal for a solar farm in the state.
Louisiana has seen a recent demand for solar farms since these key players in the utility industry announced they would begin buying solar power. In fact, recent bid records indicate that Entergy Louisiana has shown interest in renewable energy and solar farms in southeast Louisiana.
In addition, Bayou Galion Solar Project LLC, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar (a solar panel manufacturer) and Recurrent Energy Development Holdings, has submitted a proposal to the state of Louisiana to build a 98.1-megawatt solar farm that could potentially provide power to over 20 thousand nearby homes. The new solar farm would be positioned on 1,000 acres of land outside of Bastrop that is currently being leased from landowners.
While the new commitment to renewable energy in the area from Bayou Galion is expected to create permanent onsite jobs to run the farm as well as an additional 150 construction jobs from July 2022 through December 2024, the company is also seeking up to 80% property tax abatement over the next decade through Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program. Although all of the existing solar farms with proposals in the state have received authorization for hefty economic incentives, some Louisiana residents have resisted efforts and insist that a local permitting process also be required for the utility companies.
According to a statement by Entergy, many new requests for proposals are expected in the next few years. “A recurring series of RFPs for renewable resources to support ongoing Entergy Louisiana energy needs to capitalize on the improving economics of solar and potentially offer other technologies relative to conventional resources,” said Entergy officials.
The first West Baton Rouge Parish solar farm, a 50 megawatts utility-scale farm already connected to the power grid, has a 20-year contract with Entergy.
Entergy Louisiana also currently has two open RFP’s. The first includes 300 megawatts of power released in June 2020 and the second, which opened in March of this year for 500 megawatts. Entergy has made their decisions about the companies they wish to work with for the 300-megawatt proposal and are still in negotiations to close the deal.
LUS is also looking to diversify its sources and take the leap into the renewable energy industry, with the purchase of almost 300 megawatts of solar power. While Cleco, a utility company based in Pineville, has established a regulated unit that currently serves 24 parishes in south and central Louisiana. There is also an unregulated unit that serves nine Louisiana electric co-ops, that recently announced that it is seeking to add 400 megawatts of solar electricity in the next few years.