Work begins on solar panel farm

On-site work has begun for the 1.44 MW solar power plant at the intersection of Highways 358 (Jones Road) and Highway 69 (South 2nd Avenue). The old Mayflower building has been removed and the foundation is in the process of being removed.

Paragould Light, Water and Cable has begun preliminary work on its planned solar panel farm.

According to information made available by the utility, its workers have removed the old Mayflower building on the 10-acre site at the corner of Highways 69 (South Second Avenue) and 358 (Jones Road) and was working to remove the foundation slab.

“We’ll have a kickoff meeting on the 13th with Evergy Energy Partners,” PLWC Chief Executive Officer Darrell Phillips said Thursday, “but as of yet we don’t have any milestones.”

Utility Chief Operations Officer Brett Bradford said the next step is for Evergy Energy Partners to bore holes into the ground at the site to test the soil. “That way they can determine how deep to set the posts [on which] to set the [solar] panels,” he said.

Bradford said PLWC had already ordered the materials needed for the 10-acre facility. “And that’s the hard part,” he said.”After that it should take about two months to get it done.”

As previously reported, the plant is projected to be finished and operational by July. With 1.44 megawatts (MW) of power expected to be generated, the plan can supply electricity for 208 homes through its 4,692 panels. Each panel generates about 410 watts.

There are as yet no plans to expand the solar panel farm beyond the current 10 acres. It takes about seven acres to generate one MW of electricity. Were the entirety of the 28-acre site to be used for a solar panel farm, it could produce 4.03 MW, enough to power 568 homes.

PLWC received a $2 million grant from the Economic Development Corporation of Paragould, to help cover the cost of the plant’s construction, as well as the 28-acre plot on which the farm is to be built; anything in excess of the grant amount is to come from utility assets.

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