Mississippi Power, Strata, Navy plan to develop 53 MW of solar energy

Southern (NYSE:SO) subsidiary Mississippi Power said April 23 that it was teaming up with two solar businesses and the U.S. Navy to build a combined 53 MW of solar generation at two sites in Mississippi.

Mississippi Power and Strata Solar, a turn-key solar provider, are working to develop a 50 MW solar project located on 450 acres at Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park located near Hattiesburg, Miss.

In addition to the Strata solar project, Mississippi Power also is partnering with the U.S. Navy and Hannah Solar at the Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport on a 23-acre, 3-4 MW facility. The project is part of the Navy’s efforts to meet the Secretary of the Navy’s goal to produce or procure one gigawatt (1GW) of renewable energy.

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.

“This innovative project represents a significant, cost-effective contribution toward the Navy’s forward-leaning efforts to improve our national energy resilience through renewables,” said Capt. Paul Odenthal, commanding officer Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport. “It is the result of much hard work and the strong relationship we have with our many community partners. We are happy to be part of this win-win initiative.”    

If approved by the Public Service Commission in Mississippi, the projects could be in service by the end of 2016.

“Strata Solar is thrilled to be working with Mississippi Power on the project in Hattiesburg,” said Strata Solar CEO Markus Wilhelm. “Working with utilities to diversify their generation portfolios in a competitive manner with their traditional resources is a big part of our passion for what we do as a company. We are looking forward to getting this project under way.”

Mississippi Power has also been developing the 582-MW Kemper County lignite coal gasification power plant. To date another Southern subsidiary, Georgia Power, has been more noted for development of solar energy in the Southeast.

Strata Solar is a turnkey solar provider with over 500 MW installed and more than a gigawatt under development, according to its website. Atlanta-based Hannah Solar is a full service, certified solar integrator, according to its website.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.