Gulfport, Miss. - The Mississippi Public Service Commission approved the largest solar installations in Mississippi today, making Mississippi Power the largest partner in renewable energy in the state.
Mississippi Power is collaborating with three solar energy businesses and the U.S. Navy to build 105 MW of utility-scale solar electric generating farms at three different locations in the company's service territory.
Together, these new solar facilities can produce the amount of energy used annually by approximately 15,500 homes.
"These cost-effective, utility-scale solar energy projects once again place Mississippi Power at the forefront of the state's energy economy by adding renewable energy into the company's portfolio," said Mississippi Power President Anthony Wilson. "Working together with our partners, these projects will have a substantial impact on the amount of electricity generated by renewables in Mississippi."
Mississippi Power, Hannah Solar, and the U.S. Navy are partnering for a 3-4 MW (megawatt) solar project. According to Anthony Coker, Hannah Solar's VP of Market Development, t
he project is part of the Navy's efforts to meet the Secretary of the Navy's goal to produce or procure one gigawatt of renewable energy.
"We're delighted with the cooperative spirit in which the project came together," said Pete Marte, Hannah Solar CEO. "Mississippi Power, Southern Company, the U.S. Navy and Hannah Solar have created a first-class project for all parties and the people of Mississippi."
The developers of the solar energy projects will finance each installation with Mississippi Power receiving all of the energy and associated renewable energy credits generated by the projects. The energy and RECs may be used to serve customers with renewable energy, for future renewable energy programs or to sell at wholesale to third parties. The power will be purchased through long-term purchased power agreements with the developers.
The projects include:
- Mississippi Power, Hannah Solar, and the U.S. Navy are partnering on a 23-acre, 3-4-MW solar project to be located at The Naval Construction Battalion Center (Seabee Base) in Gulfport.
- Mississippi Power and Strata Solar are partnering on a 450-acre, 50-MW electric solar generating station to be located in Hattiesburg.
- The company is also partnering with Origis Energy on a 52-MW utility-scale solar energy project to be located in Sumrall.
"Strata Solar is looking forward to working with Mississippi Power on our Hattiesburg solar project," said Strata Solar CEO Markus Wilhelm. "Working with utilities to competitively and substantively diversify their power generation is a big part of our passion for this industry. We are thrilled to be getting this project under way."
As an intermittent energy resource, the solar facilities will not replace Mississippi Power's generating plants, but will have the capability to provide energy that will help diversify the company's generation portfolio and help keep rates affordable for customers.
"Origis is honored to team up with Mississippi Power on this utility-scale solar project," said Origis Energy President Guy Vanderhaegen. "Our team has received great support with the development of this project. We are honored by the trust and confidence Mississippi Power and the Mississippi Public Service Commission have given to this exciting solar project and Origis."
Construction on all three projects is slated to begin in early 2016.