Southern (NYSE:SO) utility Mississippi Power‘s held March 2 groundbreaking ceremonies on one of the company’s three solar energy projects that have been approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
Mississippi Power, Georgia-based Hannah Solar and the U.S. Navy are partnering on a 23-acre, solar project that could generate up to 4 MW at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (Seabee Base) in Gulfport.
The facility will have roughly 13,000 panels, providing enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 450 homes.
In addition to the Seabee Base project, Mississippi Power and Silicon Ranch Solar are partnering on a 450-acre, 50-MW electric solar generating station in Hattiesburg. The company is also partnering with Origis Energy on a 52-MW utility-scale solar energy project in Sumrall.
Combined at 105 MW, these projects will make Mississippi Power the largest partner in renewable energy in the state, the utility said in a March 2 news release.
Construction on all three projects is slated to begin later this year.
The developers of the solar energy projects will finance each installation with Mississippi Power receiving all of the energy and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) 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 power purchase agreements with the developers.
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.
“Renewable energy is important to a well-balanced energy portfolio,” said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. “This is one of three utility-scale solar projects that have been approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, making our company the state’s largest partner in renewable energy. We are proud to team up with the Navy, along with the Commission and its staff, on this very important project.”
“Partnerships like the one between Mississippi Power and the Department of the Navy make us stronger,” said Honorable Dennis V. McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment. “It enables us to better serve and complete our mission. The efforts of NCBC to be effective managers of energy resources have been recognized at the highest levels of the Navy, and it is these efforts that make all of our bases more resilient and secure.”