Q: Why is Entergy Mississippi doing this?
A: Entergy has an obligation to provide reliable, affordable power to meet our customers' energy needs today and into the future. We accomplish this by using a mix of generation and fuel types so that we're not dependent on one source of fuel for power. This diversity helps keep rates low and stable.
Solar energy offers many benefits, and continual advancements in solar panel technology are increasing its efficiency and lowering the cost of production, making it a potentially cost-effective fuel source for our customers. This pilot project will let us collect data and study the feasibility of solar energy here.
Q: If this is a pilot project, why is Entergy building three sites?
A: Three sites spread across the state -- in the southern, central and northern parts of our service area -- will help us understand locational differences, capacity factor, different weather patterns and irradiance at different locations. We can use this information to determine where and why solar is more or less effective in some areas. In addition, one of our sites will have a single-axis tracking system that will track the sun throughout the day. The other two will have fixed tilt systems. This will allow us to see which system works more effectively.
Q: Where will the three sites be located?
A: The first will be located in Hinds County at Entergy's Hinds Generating Facility in Jackson. The other two will be located on sites in Lincoln and DeSoto counties.
Q: How much solar energy will these sites create?
A: Combined, the projects will provide electricity for approximately 175 single-family residences.
Q: What is the cost of the project?
A: The total cost of the project is about $4.5 million.
Q: When will the sites be built?
A: Construction on the Hinds site is slated to begin in late April, with the others to follow later in the year. All three installations are expected to be operational before the end of 2015.
Q: Is the project the result of federal greenhouse gas reduction programs?
A: This is not a result of the EPA program; rather it is part of Entergy's "Bright Future" plan, a blueprint for meeting our customers' electrical needs through 2025. The plan is designed to improve reliability, modernize the grid, maintain an adequate work force, stabilize rates, use new technologies and attract new industry. Entergy Corporation already has one of the cleanest portfolios in the country, as we believe that increasing greenhouse gas emission has a harmful effect on the environment.
In 2001, Entergy was the first U.S. utility to voluntarily commit to stabilizing CO2 emissions as part of our efforts to address the business risk posed by climate change. After successfully completing two five-year stabilization commitments, we set a new voluntary stabilization commitment as part of Environment 2020. This is a 10-year strategy that provides further direction and improvement in our environmental performance. Our commitment is to maintain CO2 emissions from the power plants we own and controllable power purchases through 2020 at least 20 percent below year-2000 levels.