Utility company Mississippi Power and SR Meridian III, a wholly owned subsidiary of developer Silicon Ranch Corp., have received unanimous approval from the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) to build a 52.5 MW solar project in Lauderdale County.
The project will include approximately 570,000 photovoltaic panels, and the plant is scheduled to begin providing energy by December 2019. When operational, the facility will generate enough electricity to power approximately 8,000 homes.
SR Meridian III will construct, own and operate the facility, which is estimated to cost approximately $100 million, and will deliver affordable wholesale energy to Mississippi Power below the utility’s avoided cost over the 25-year life of the power purchase agreement.
“This partnership with Silicon Ranch will help Mississippi Power continue to support the expansion of solar generation in the state of Mississippi,” says Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. “This facility increases Mississippi Power’s access to solar power, supports the Navy in its renewable energy initiatives and is a significant investment in Lauderdale County.”
This generating facility, along with a 6 MW solar plant that recently broke ground at Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, will help also help support the U.S. Navy’s objective of strengthening grid resiliency and reliability.
“NAS Meridian’s success in effectively managing energy resources has been recognized at the highest levels of the Navy,” says Captain Scott A. Bunnay, former commanding officer of NAS Meridian. “Efforts like these solar projects help bases become more resilient and secure.”
“Silicon Ranch is grateful for the support of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, as this project reinforces our long-term commitment to the Magnolia State, where we have already made significant investments across more than a dozen facilities,” says Silicon Ranch President and CEO Matt Kisber. “We wish to commend our partners at Mississippi Power, East Mississippi Electric Power Association and Naval Air Station Meridian for their collaborative efforts to bring the benefits of utility-scale solar to Lauderdale County.”
The Lauderdale County facility will increase Mississippi Power’s solar capacity to 160 MW. In July, Mississippi Power held site dedications at a 52 MW solar plant in Sumrall with D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments and a 4 MW solar facility at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport with Hannah Solar and WGL Energy. In the coming weeks, a 50 MW solar plant in Hattiesburg in partnership with Silicon Ranch and the Area Development Partnership is also scheduled to begin operating.
Mississippi Power will receive all energy and associated renewable energy credits produced by these facilities, which it may use to serve customers with solar energy or sell to third parties for the benefit of customers.