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Solar panels atop the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge produce nearly 1.3 megawatts of power to operate the 1.5 million-square-foot shopping center. New Orleans-based Solar Alternatives completed the installation in November, about the same time it was doing a project at Gretna’s Oakwood Center.

Entergy Louisiana has won approval to buy solar power from a 50-megawatt power plant slated for West Baton Rouge Parish, a previously-announced project that is expected to save the utility's customers $29 million over the 20-year contract.

Entergy plans to buy power from a subsidiary of Arizona-based Eagle Solar Group, which builds utility-scale solar projects. The plant is set to begin construction in mid-2019 and finish in 2020, Entergy said. It is being built on 560 acres near Port Allen. 

The renewable energy will offset the equivalent of nearly 19,000 passenger vehicles' emissions in on year, the utility said. The Public Service Commission approved the agreement at its meeting Thursday. 

Eagle Solar's power plant is one of the largest planned in Louisiana, and is part of a wave of utility-scale solar projects that are starting to pop up throughout the state as costs for the technology continue falling. 

Entergy said it currently has 180 megawatts of renewable energy, including hydro, biomass and waste heat recovery, along with the state's two largest sources of carbon-free power, the Waterford 3 and River Bend nuclear units. 


Follow Sam Karlin on Twitter, @samkarlin.