Closing Bell: Panel Discussion

Entergy Solar Farm tour

Ben Byboth, center, senior manager of innovation with Entergy, discusses the company’s New Orleans solar farm with Tulane students during an October tour of the facility.

Master of Management in Energy students got a firsthand look at the logistics and economics of solar power in October during a tour of the Entergy New Orleans Solar Power Plant, the first utility-scale solar facility in the Entergy system. Located on a 14-acre site off Chef Menteur Highway, the plant features 4,256
panels and generates enough electricity to power about 160 homes.

Entergy built the high-tech plant in 2016 to evaluate the use of utility-scale solar in New Orleans. The plant is one of just a few in the country that integrate battery-storage technology, enabling it to transmit electricity to the grid regardless of weather conditions or time of day, and the plant also features remote capabilities that enable operators in Baton Rouge to manipulate the panels to account for solar variances as well as frequency and voltage disturbances on the grid.

“It was great for our students to learn more about solar power and how it fits into strategies for achieving a cleaner, more reliable energy future,” said Pierre Conner, professor of practice and executive director of the Tulane Energy Institute. “With Entergy’s plans to add 90 megawatts of solar energy to its portfolio, renewables are going to play a significant role alongside natural gas and nuclear in creating a reliable lower carbon system.”

The solar plant tour was offered in conjunction with the Entergy-Tulane Clean Energy Forum, a joint presentation of Entergy and the Tulane Energy Institute designed to highlight efforts toward building a sustainable and reliable clean energy future for New Orleans.

More than 200 business leaders, Tulane students and Entergy employees attended the forum, which took place on Oct. 7 at the Civic Theatre in downtown New Orleans. Speakers included New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault and former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, who participated in a panel discussion with Conner and Denault on the challenges of decarbonizing the U.S. economy.

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