The future of the massive solar farm project south of Crossett is looking bright as ever after an infusion of funding into the project recently.
Cubico Sustainable Investments announced Dec. 2 that it had purchased a 270-megawatt photovoltaic portfolio from Renewable Energy Systems, the company that is building and will operate the planned Crossett system. The Crossett project was included in the portfolio.
RES develops, builds and operates solar facilities, but funds the projects by finding investors.
“This moves the project forward quite a bit,” said Crossett Economic Development Director Mike Smith. “This is where the funding comes from. RES issued bonds for the project, and this company bought them.”
Crossett Mayor Crystal Marshall said the bond purchase does not affect the local ordinances or agreements with RES that are attached to the project.
The Crossett farm is a planned 100-megawatt facility that will employ an estimated 33,000 solar panels on an 800-acre property.
The plan is projected to cost approximately $150 million. When completed, the solar arrays will be lined up north to south and will track with the sun.
In the announcement of purchase, Cubico said the financial close for the project should be in the first quarter of 2021 and commercial operations for the facilities will begin in 2022.
RES is still set to construct the farm.
Smith said he has received verbal confirmation that the project will start soon.
“They indicated to the city and to me that they plan to start securing the necessary local permits within six months, so by April or May they should be under way,” he said.
RES has already completed its state permitting process, Smith said.
“Permitting for the local part should take less than 30 days,” he said.
Combined with the other assets in the solar portfolio, the Crossett facility will contribute to powering more than one million homes and businesses.
In addition to Crossett, the Cubico purchase included the Delta’s Edge project in Mississippi. Both projects already have power purchase agreements with regional utility cooperatives.
The Arkansas Electrical Cooperatives Corp. has had a power purchase agreement in place for the Crossett project since 2018.