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Mississippi gives go-ahead for second utility-scale solar project

By Karen Graham     Aug 21, 2017 in Business
Meridian - Mississippi is not the first state to come to mind when talking about renewable energy resources, but over the past few years, the solar manufacturing market has grown, along with solar energy farms.
On Thursday last week, the Mississippi Public Service Commission voted for the $100 million solar farm to be built in Lauderdale County by Silicon Ranch of Nashville, Tennessee. Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Power, also got approval to buy electric power under a 25-year contract from the 52.5 MW solar project.
The SR Meridian plant will be located near the Alabama border and follows the completion of the 52 MW-AC project in Sumrall in July. Completion of the Sumerall solar facility moved Mississippi up to 20th place in solar capacity in the U.S.
The Sumerall project and the new SR Meridian project, along with a 50 MW project in Hattiesburg, which is due to come online in a few weeks and a 4 MW array in Gulfport, Mississippi Power will have an estimated reach of 160 MW of solar capacity under contract.
In 2016, Mississippi had the 36th largest solar energy market in the nation and was ranked 40th in installed capacity. The state lagged behind its neighbors, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. However, these new facilities will put Louisiana and Arkansas behind Mississippi because utility-scale solar projects have been few and far between.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Mississippi generated nearly 2.4 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources during 2016, and biomass accounted for almost all the state's utility-scale renewable electricity generation.
Solar module manufacturing in Mississippi
Stion Corporation is a solar company with headquarters in San Jose, California, but it has its manufacturing plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Founded in 2006, Stion manufactures thin-film solar modules, a second generation solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers, or thin films (TF) of photovoltaic material on glass or another substrate.
The plant is the first thin-film solar module factory in the Southeast. The Hattiesburg plant began production in 2011 and makes the thin-film solar modules using glass on glass along with an integrated solar cell.
Another company, Seraphim Solar, located in Jackson, Mississippi, manufactures a high-efficiency monocrystalline module and standard high-specification polycrystalline modules. They have a global market in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
More about solar project, Mississippi, utilityscale plant, silicon ranch, Electric grid
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