by Roby Brock
Producers Rice Mill and Scenic Hill Solar announced plans Monday (Nov. 25) to build a 26 MW DC solar power plant combined with up to 40 MWh of energy storage capacity at Producers Rice Mill in Stuttgart. This solar power project will be the largest commercial solar and energy storage facility in the state of Arkansas and will rank among the largest such commercial facilities in North America, according to the two groups.
Scenic Hill Solar will develop and oversee construction of the solar power project for Producers. It will be sited on 160 acres of land and utilizing over 65,000 solar modules.
“We anticipate this project will result in two-thirds of the electricity consumption at our Stuttgart operations being provided by solar power,” said Keith Glover, CEO of Producers Rice Mill. “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.”
According to a press release announcing the project, the 26 MW solar power plant will:
- Produce more than 44,200,000 kWh of electricity in the first year of operation and produce more than 1,226,550,000 kWh of electricity over the next 30 years;
- Generate enough clean electricity to satisfy 67% of Producers electricity needs in Stuttgart;
- Contain more than 65,000 solar modules; and
- Reduce carbon emissions by more than 867,000 metric tons, the equivalent of providing more than 151,000 homes electricity for one year.
“We are proud to work with Producers on this visionary project – the largest commercial solar power plant in Arkansas – which is transformative for sustainability efforts while simultaneously reducing electricity costs,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “The positive environmental impacts are the equivalent of removing over 2 billion passenger car miles or of providing solar electricity for 5,000 homes per year. Scenic Hill Solar is proud to add Producers to our clients in Stuttgart which already included the City of Stuttgart and the Stuttgart School District.”
“Rice farmers have worked hard to be mindful on their impact on the environment. Since data has been collected for the past 36 years, we have reduced water use by 52%, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 41%, and increased our land use efficiency by 39%. We have also reduced our energy use by 34%, and this new solar power plant will allow us to reduce our energy usage for rice processing even more,” said Producers Rice Mill Board Chairman Jay Coker.