Tours show off state’s largest solar facility in Sumrall

Tours show off state’s largest solar facility in Sumrall

Mississippi Power customers will soon be benefitting from the company’s investment in renewable energy, now that solar panels have been installed at facilities in Gulfport and Sumrall, and construction continues at a third solar farm in Hattiesburg.

When the three projects come online later this year, they will collectively produce 105 MW of solar energy — enough to power 15,500 homes for a year.

That makes Mississippi Power the state’s largest partner in renewable energy.

On Friday, the company provided the media and key Pine Belt customers with a firsthand look at the progress being made at the 590-acre, 52-MW solar generation station in Lamar County. When completed, it will be the largest solar facility in Mississippi.

During the tour the morning sun reflected off the solar panels and helped signal the company’s next step in providing renewable energy for its customers.

“The project is not only an investment in renewable energy, but it’s also an investment in Mississippi Power’s customers, the community and the Pine Belt region,” said Pine Belt Division Manager Michael Harvey.

The partnership between Mississippi Power, D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, the Area Development Partnership and Lamar County will substantially increase the amount of solar-powered generation in Mississippi and nearly double the amount of solar power being purchased by Mississippi Power.

The project, which features 215,000 solar panels, has created nearly 100 jobs during construction.

“These utility-scale solar projects help Mississippi Power further diversify its energy portfolio and support the company’s mission to provide safe, affordable and reliable energy to its customers,” said Tony Smith, Mississippi Power air quality programs manager.

Down the road in Hattiesburg, construction continues on a 460-acre, 50-MW solar facility. That project is a partnership between Mississippi Power, Silicon Ranch, Forrest County, the city of Hattiesburg and the Area Development Partnership.

Located near Timberton, that facility will feature more than 600,000 solar panels.

“Construction on the earthwork and erosion control is nearly halfway complete,” Smith said. “Completion on both facilities in the Pine Belt is expected later this year.”

Meanwhile, a 37-acre, 3-MW solar farm located at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport has reached full commercial operation. The Seabee Base facility, which features more than 13,000 solar panels, is a partnership between the U.S. Navy, Mississippi Power and Hannah Solar.

“We recently completed acceptance testing on the facility,” Smith added. “The Seabee Base farm provides enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 450 homes.”

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power earned the 2015 ReliabilityOneTM Award for outstanding midsize utility for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts as well as being a leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

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