D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI), a North American renewable energy producer, and Entergy New Orleans have broken ground on two Louisiana solar projects – the Iris Solar project in Washington Parish and St. James Solar project in St. James Parish.
Together, the projects represent the largest solar facility currently under construction in Louisiana and will produce a combined 70 MW of power. The Iris Solar site comprises 492 acres and the St. James site spans approximately 218 acres. Both projects are expected to reach commercial operation in mid-2021. Entergy New Orleans has entered into 20-year power purchase agreements with these facilities for the benefit of all customers.
“Our team is pleased to work with Entergy New Orleans and all of our project partners to bring cost-effective renewable energy to Louisiana residents for years to come,” says Hy Martin, chief development officer of DESRI. “We’re proud of the team and partners that came together to start construction on this large set of solar projects that will bring jobs, tax revenue and broader economic activity to local communities throughout the state.”
The Iris and St. James projects are expected to create up to 150 jobs and 100 jobs respectively during the construction phase. They also will further diversify Entergy New Orleans’ generation portfolio, which already sources over 50% of its energy from zero-carbon emitting resources and has achieved an emissions rate that is 50% below the national average.
Financing for the construction and operation of the projects was provided by a syndicate of lenders, including Societe Generale as coordinating lead arranger, and CIBC and Truist Bank as joint lead arrangers.
These solar projects were initiated and initially developed by Acadian Renewable Energy LLC, a joint venture among affiliates of SunChase Power and MAP Renewable Energy. MAP Renewable Energy is a minority owner of the projects.
Photo: Entergy New Orleans’ landing page