GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Power Company joined the U.S. Navy at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday announcing plans to construct a large scale solar facility at the Seabee Base in Gulfport. It will be one of three such projects coming to the state.
The solar operations will be capable of producing 105 megawatts of power.
"That total makes us very clearly the largest solar producer in Mississippi. It's a major step forward and it establishes a path forward for us to grow our solar renewables. As price and facilities continue to get better, we'll move farther and farther down that road," said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson.
Late last year, the Mississippi Public Service Commission approved the installations. The PSC believes this will open the door for mass generation of solar power, which will ultimately benefit power company customers.
"This is a good partnership where we're able to work with the Navy and Mississippi Power to make the grid more secure and bring solar energy to South Mississippi. This is great for the economy here and the rate payers," PSC Commissioner Brandon Presley said.
The Department of Defense is committed to exploring all options on the energy front. Working with Mississippi Power on the solar operation at the Seabee Base is part of a long term strategy.
"We want to diversify our energy portfolio. We're looking at solar, wind and geothermal, in addition to continuing to use fossil fuel, because we think diversification makes us more resilient to any change in the future," said Assistant Secretary of the Navy Dennis McGinn.
The 23 acre site at the Seabee Base will have 13,000 solar panels. The other two locations for solar facilities are Hattiesburg and Sumrall. Construction on the three sites will begin later this year.