Producers Rice Mill is preparing to build the largest commercial solar array and energy storage facility in the state of Arkansas. Partnering with Scenic Hill Solar, the Stuttgart-based rice mill has announced plans to construct a 26 megawatt solar power plant with up to 40 MWh of energy storage capacity.
The solar facility sit on approximately 160 acres of land and will feature more than 65,000 individual solar modules.
According to Producers officials, the power plant is expected to generate 44,200,000 kWh of electricity in its first year of operation alone. Over the course of 30 years, it is expected to produce more than 1,226,550,000 kWh of electricity. According to these figures, the power plant’s yearly output will average 40,885,000 kWh.
Producers CEO Keith Glover says the solar project is projected to save the company $100 million over 30 years in electricity bills. He estimates that using solar power will fulfill 67 percent of Producers’ annual electricity needs in Stuttgart.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Company officials also cite the environmental impact of the solar plant. Producers Rice Mill Board Chairman Jay Coker says the rice mill has worked to reduce its footprint by reducing water use, reducing greenhouse gases and more. The plant is projected to reduce Producers’ carbon emissions by 867,000 metric tons.
“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 percent, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 41 percent, and increased our land use efficiency by 39%. We have also reduced our energy use by 34 percent, and this new solar power plant will allow us to reduce our energy usage for rice processing even more,” Coker says.
Scenic Hill Solar is developing and overseeing the construction of the plant. The company is led by former Arkansas lieutenant governor Bill Halter, who is the company’s CEO. “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,” he says.
Image courtesy of Producers Rice Mill