Utilities keep seeing the value of low-cost solar as an energy producer increasing and are supporting larger projects across more of the US. Case in point, two giant solar projects, a 100 megawatt solar farm in Mississippi and a 200 MW solar farm in Georgia, were announced on Nov. 8. Both are the largest in their respective states.
Solar power has been making inroads into Georgia for a while as its dominant utility, Georgia Power, has worked with businesses, like Facebook and Google, to build large solar farms to support their use of energy in the state. And last year, it announced that it had over 846 MWs of solar online and will add 1.6 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2021.
In Mississippi utility-scale solar has lagged and the 100 MW Sunflower Solar Facility being built for Entergy Mississippi represents a huge jump in the size and scope of solar projects in the state. Entergy and its subsidiaries serve 2.9 million customers across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In Mississippi, Entergy began piloting solar power in 2016 and had three, 500 kilowatt solar farms installed.
"The solar pilot projects helped answer many questions about solar in Mississippi and were the genesis for this larger project," said Haley Fisackerly, President of Entergy Mississippi.
"Building the utility of the future means embracing new technologies," Fisackerly said. "The Sunflower Solar Facility will support our plan to offer community solar to customers who want renewable energy as part of their energy mix."
The project in Mississippi is pending approval from the Mississippi Public Service Commission and will be built by Canadian Solar’s Recurrent Energy. It’s slated to cost $138.4 million and to be built on roughly 1,000 acres. Once completed it will provide enough energy to power over 16,000 homes.
The 200 MW GA Solar 4 project, in Twiggs County, GA, will be developed by owner Origis Energy using First Solar panels on 2,000 acres near Warner Robins. The project will be sold through to Georgia Power its Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI) Program, for all its customers.
“GA Solar 4 will make a significant contribution to Georgia,” said Johan Vanhee of Origis Energy. “Twiggs County leaders have worked closely with First Solar to make this project a reality. It will make a very strong positive difference in the area’s economic growth and long-term tax base. We thank all members of the team for their contributions to this solar milestone.”Tweet