HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) — The state’s soon-to-be largest solar farm held a groundbreaking ceremony in the Pine Belt Wednesday.
Mississippi Power and Silicon Ranch Corporation, along with local officials from the city of Hattiesburg, Forrest County and the Area Development Partnership made the announcement at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.
“This is the second of three major solar projects that have been approved by the Public Service Commission, demonstrating Mississippi Power’s continuing commitment to cost-effective solar development,” said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony L. Wilson. “The Pine Belt region is one of the hubs of economic development in the state and our investments in renewable energy here will contribute to future growth.”
The solar farm will be on 450 acres and will feature more than 600,000 solar panels. The project will create approximately 400 jobs during construction, officials said. The facility is expected to l generate 50 MW. Officials said that’s enough electricity to supply power to about 6,500 homes.
“Silicon Ranch is proud to work with Mississippi Power, the city of Hattiesburg, Forrest County, and the Area Development Partnership to bring this important renewable energy project to south Mississippi,” said Silicon Ranch President and CEO Matt Kisber. “As long-term owners of this solar project, as well as several others across Mississippi, we are excited about the economic and environmental benefits it will bring to the community, the surrounding region, and the state.”
The Hattiesburg facility will not replace other Mississippi Power generating plants, but will have the capability to provide energy that will help diversify the company’s generation portfolio.
In May, Mississippi Power and Origis Energy will break ground on a 52-MW utility-scale solar project in Sumrall. In March, Mississippi Power, the U.S. Navy and Hannah Solar broke ground on a 3-4 MW solar project at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss.