Trent Lott calls Sumrall solar site ‘the beginning’

Trent Lott calls Sumrall solar site ‘the beginning’

Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson cuts the ribbon on the state’s largest solar farm, located in Sumrall.

Mississippi Power, along with its project partners D.E. Shaw Renewables and DEPCOM Power, held a site dedication today in Sumrall at Mississippi’s largest solar farm.

The sprawling renewable energy complex started commercial operation last week, generating 52 MW from more than 215,000 photovoltaic panels on the 600-acre site.

“This is an important day for our company as we continue to shape the future of energy and expand our stake in renewables,” said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. “We wouldn’t be here today without a shared vision and a great relationship with our partners.

“South Mississippi, especially this Pine Belt region, is the epicenter for the growth of utility-scale solar energy in the state. Our customers are already receiving the benefits of the energy being generated on this site.”

The company is the state’s largest partner in renewable energy with three major solar projects approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

Former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, a Pascagoula native, was the guest speaker at the Sumrall site dedication and he touted the development of renewable energy in Mississippi.

“This is the beginning and it will continue to grow,” Lott said. “There are a lot of important things to like about this project. You have employed local people. You have employed veterans. This new, modern, innovative technology is located right here in Lamar County and it is a technology that we can benefit from.”

Mississippi Power is distributing power from two of the three solar facilities – this Sumrall site and a 3-4 MW solar facility at the Seabee Base in Gulfport. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for the Seabee Base project on Tuesday, July 11.

A 50 MW solar farm is under construction in Hattiesburg and is scheduled to come online later this year.

A fourth solar project is proposed and awaiting approval from the PSC – a 53 MW facility in Lauderdale County that will help support the Naval Air Station in Meridian.

If approved, the Lauderdale solar farm would raise the company’s solar portfolio to nearly 160 MW, enough to power the equivalent of 23,000 homes.

Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley of the Northern District and Commissioner Sam Britton of the Southern District attended the dedication ceremony.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, site tours were available for guests followed by lunch.

“I want to thank Mississippi Power,” said D.E. Shaw Senior Vice President Thomas de Swardt. “The utility has been an absolute pleasure to work with. I keep my eye on the future. Sen. Lott mentioned this is just the beginning. We believe in solar in the South. We are proud of this achievement and we hope to build on this. I know that this is just the start of much more to come.”

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 188,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeastern Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube.