City Council approves purchase/lease of land near Monroe Airport for solar energy facility

A Nashville-based company could make an $80 million investment if feasibility and environmental studies come back positive.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:26 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A solar energy plant may be coming to Monroe.

The City Council approved the purchase of over 500 acres of land on Millhaven Road and to lease another 200 acres to Silicon Ranch Corporation to build a solar farm.

Silicon Ranch says the necessary environmental and feasibility studies may take around four years to complete, but if they come back positive, they hope to be operational by 2027.

“We build own and operate these projects, so when we go in, we have the full intention of going through and operating the project for 40 years.” Silicon Ranch’s Project Development Manager, Stefan Eckmann, explained.

Silicon Ranch says once the facility is operational, it will only employ five to seven people full-time. However, that number will be far more significant during development and construction.

“The job creation comes in the construction period,” said Gina Brown, Silicon Ranch’s Economic and Community Development Manager.” We look to hire local. We look to hire from veteran communities. Projects this size are estimated to create 200-300 construction jobs for about a year.”

The company says the energy generated will be sold to Entergy.

“So this would be in the local grid through Entergy’s local lines, and they would eventually determine where the power goes, but the power would be entering the local grid,” Eckmann explained.

Silicon Ranch adds the facility will make Monroe more appealing to companies looking to relocate who are looking for a city with renewable energy options.