Mississippi PSC okays three solar projects that will supply Mississippi Power

The Mississippi Public Service Commission on Nov. 10 approved the largest solar installations in Mississippi, making Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary 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 farms at three different locations in the company’s service territory.

“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 in a Nov. 10 statement. “Working together with our partners, these projects will have a substantial impact on the amount of electricity generated by renewables in Mississippi.”

“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.”

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. 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.

“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.”

“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.”

The projects include:

  • Mississippi Power and Strata Solar are partnering on a 450-acre, 50-MW solar station to be located in Hattiesburg.
  • The utility is partnering with Origis Energy on a 52-MW utility-scale solar project to be located in Sumrall.
  • Mississippi Power, Hannah Solar, and the U.S. Navy are partnering on a 23-acre, 3 MW-4-MW solar project to be located at The Naval Construction Battalion Center (Seabee Base) in Gulfport.

Construction on all three projects is slated to begin in early 2016.

The PSC noted in a Nov. 10 statement that Hattiesburg Farm LLC will invest $85 million for 450 acres near the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park off of Highway 98. Mississippi Solar 2 LLC will construct its $102 million project on 4,085 acres in Sumrall. CB Energy LLC will spend $6.4 million on its project at the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport. The electricity generated from all three solar farms will be used to serve Mississippi Power customers for at least the next 25 years.

“We are watching low cost solar power go from a hope for the future to a current reality. These projects bring tangible proof that the sky is the limit when it comes to how we power our state. This is only the beginning, and I know that the more options we have available for electricity, the cheaper we can make it for customers,” Commissioner Brandon Presley said.

Mississippi Power produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.