NextEra Energy Resources and Entergy Arkansas on Tuesday celebrated the commissioning of the largest universal solar energy project in Arkansas, with the capacity to generate 81 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 13,000 homes.

The Stuttgart Solar Energy Center features more than 350,000 photovoltaic solar panels on a 475-acre site in Arkansas County about seven miles south of the town of Stuttgart. According to NextEra, the eight-month construction project generated a significant economic boost, creating hundreds of jobs and stimulating the purchase of area goods and services. It’s a trend that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson believes will continue.

"Solar energy is good for Arkansans and good for our economy,” said Hutchinson. “Arkansas has many great natural resources. It’s wonderful we are now also utilizing the sun to provide clean energy to the state and drive our economy forward.”

Bethany Hildebrand, executive director and CEO of the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce, said Arkansas County is already seeing the project's impacts through new jobs and school funding. “We are thrilled to host the state’s largest solar facility and know it will continue to provide benefits to our community.”

Over its operational life, the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center is expected to generate nearly $8 million in additional revenue for Arkansas County.

A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources built the facility and will own and operate the facility. The energy will serve Entergy Arkansas customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement.