Mississippi currently has about one megawatt of solar power installed, and is one of the worst American states for solar, but that is going to change soon. The Mississippi Public Service Commission approved 105 MW of utility-scale solar farms, and Mississippi Power will collaborate with the US Navy and three solar power companies to create three solar farms within the utility’s service area.
The projects are:
- Mississippi Power and Strata Solar are partnering on a 450-acre, 50-MW generating station in Hattiesburg.
- The utility is also partnering with Origis Energy on a 52-MW utility-scale energy project in Sumrall.
- Mississippi Power, Hannah Solar, and the U.S. Navy are partnering on a 23-acre, 3-4-MW project at The Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport.
“Origis is honored to team up with Mississippi Power on this utility-scale solar project. Our team has received great support with the development of this project. We are honored by the trust and confidence Mississippi Power and the Mississippi Public Service Commission have given to this exciting solar project and Origis,” explained Origis Energy President Guy Vanderhaegen.
Of course, this is great news for Mississippi. To go from 1 MW to over 100 MW in a short period shows quite a shift in mindset. Mississippi Power provides electricity to 186,000 customers in 23 counties. The new solar power installations have an estimated capacity to provide electricity to about 15,500 homes, when there is adequate sunshine.
Mississippi has enough – one source said it could generate about 22% of its electricity from rooftop solar PV. So, even though going from 1 to 106 MW is a relatively massive surge, Mississippi could install far more. The news about the solar power surge seems to indicate that what is holding solar back in the South is much more about politics, than cost or any technological barrier. In fact, Alabama recently approved 500 MW of solar power projects, after only have about 2 MW installed. (Louisiana currently has about 77 MW installed and Florida seems to be mostly resistant, at least compared with its clean power potential.) Is the South waking up to its own solar power potential?
It will be interesting to see if Mississippi’s new clean power growth causes any inspiration or positive reaction in other Southern states. Hey Florida, you just got blown out of the water, in terms of the rate of solar adoption. Florida installed about 22 MW in 2014.