Bald Knob Mayor Barth Grayson

Grayson

Bald Knob Mayor Barth Grayson

Bald Knob Mayor Barth Grayson signed up Thursday for the city to find out if it will be chosen to be able to receive solar power.

Since Bald Knob had submitted a letter of intent, it put the city in a queue above other communities if it decides it wants solar power, according to Entergy Arkansas representative Flave Carpenter.

“We have probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 165 to 170 entities like yourself who have sent in a letter of intent to participate in this process,” said Carpenter, who spoke to the Bald Knob City Council on Monday considering the use of solar power.

The subscription window opened Wednesday at 8 a.m., he said, and “within a seven-day period, you will be notified as to where you fall in that. So if you got in the 40.5-megawatt allowance, you will be asked to submit your account, which you have already done. We will track that back to you to make sure that is the right account and everything is lined up. If that’s the case, then you sign up for that period for 18 years for that rate, 5.345 cents.”

Council member Billy Feagin asked Carpenter what the benefit of using solar energy was and he said “much better rates. Right now, the base rate for small general services is about 7.5 percent.”

Carpenter said ground should be broken “pretty soon” on the Searcy solar plant, a 100-megawatt facility, the largest utility-owned solar project in the state, that will be on “a little over 800 acres and runs from the substation on Searcy Street going towards Kensett all the way up on the east side of Eastline Road.”

However, if Bald Knob winds up going with solar power, it will be generated from the Stuttgart facility, which has a generating capacity of 81 megawatts.

The Stuttgart Solar Energy Center opened in 2018. Chicot Solar is now under construction in Lake Village and also will provide 100 megawatts of solar power when it comes online later this year.

Before the city makes an obligation to Entergy on a solar project, Grayson said there would probably be a special meeting to discuss it.

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