Mississippi Power and Silicon Ranch Corporation, along with local officials from the city of Hattiesburg, Forrest County and the Area Development Partnership, held a groundbreaking ceremony for the state’s largest solar farm today in Hattiesburg.
When operational, the $100-million facility will generate 50 MW, enough electricity to supply power to approximately 6,500 homes.
Members of the Mississippi Public Service Commission were also on hand for the ceremony, held at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg.
“This is the second of three major solar projects that have been approved by the Public Service Commission, demonstrating Mississippi Power’s continuing commitment to cost-effective solar development,” said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony L. Wilson. “The Pine Belt region is one of the hubs of economic development in the state and our investments in renewable energy here will contribute to future growth.”
“We are committed to having a well-balanced energy portfolio, and are proud to work with Silicon Ranch, Forrest County, the city of Hattiesburg and the Area Development Partnership to make that happen,” Wilson added.
In May, Mississippi Power and Origis Energy will break ground on a 52-MW utility-scale solar project in Sumrall. In March, Mississippi Power, the U.S. Navy and Hannah Solar broke ground on a 3-4 MW solar project at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss.
The Hattiesburg solar farm will be on 450 acres and will feature more than 600,000 solar panels. The project will create approximately 400 jobs during construction.
“Silicon Ranch is proud to work with Mississippi Power, the city of Hattiesburg, Forrest County, and the Area Development Partnership to bring this important renewable energy project to south Mississippi,” said Silicon Ranch President and CEO Matt Kisber. “As long-term owners of this solar project, as well as several others across Mississippi, we are excited about the economic and environmental benefits it will bring to the community, the surrounding region, and the state.”
Silicon Ranch will fund, own, and operate the project and has selected Strata Solar to build it. Mississippi Power will receive all the energy produced at cost-competitive rates over the next 25 years. Mississippi Power will also receive all associated renewable energy credits, which it may use to either serve its customers with renewable energy, use for future renewable energy programs, or sell at wholesale to third parties. The solar project is slated to be complete by early 2017 and once operational, the power will be placed on the Mississippi Power grid.
“The city of Hattiesburg is excited to partner with Silicon Ranch and Mississippi Power to bring abundant, clean energy to the local grid,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, “This project diversifies our potential energy fuel offerings and further enhances our reputation as a high-tech community with a pro-business approach. We look forward to a long-standing partnership on this solar energy facility.”
Forrest County Board of Supervisors President David Hogan said, “Forrest County has a long track record of aggressively attracting new investment into our community. We are excited to welcome Silicon Ranch as our newest corporate citizen and look forward to the solar farm generating 50 MW of clean solar energy for our region.”
The Hattiesburg facility will not replace other Mississippi Power generating plants, but will have the capability to provide energy that will help diversify the company’s generation portfolio.
About Mississippi Power
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.
About Silicon Ranch Corporation
Silicon Ranch Corporation, based in Nashville, Tenn., is one of the top 15 solar owner-operators in the U.S. Silicon Ranch is a full-service, renewable energy provider that customizes solar solutions based upon the individual needs of its customers across the nation and has been instrumental in helping its partners accomplish numerous “firsts” in their respective marketplaces. In addition to the project in Hattiesburg, Silicon Ranch owns and operates Mississippi solar farms in Okolona and Columbus and has projects under engineering and construction in Houston and New Albany. More information is available here.
About the Area Development Partnership (ADP)
The Area Development Partnership (ADP) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for citizens of Greater Hattiesburg through community and economic development. The ADP unites hundreds of individuals, businesses and organizations, creating a unique agency working to enhance the region’s economy and build a better community. The ADP’s economic development portfolio includes business recruitment, retention and expansion, project management, government relations, small business loans, and more. Information about the ADP is available at www.theADP.com.
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