Canadian Solar Inc. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Recurrent Energy, LLC, successfully completed the construction of the 100 MW Sunflower Solar Station. The solar power plant, located in Sunflower County in the Mississippi Delta, will provide enough clean energy to power 16,000 homes in Entergy Mississippi’s territory.
The Sunflower project is one of the first utility scale solar projects to be constructed under a Build Transfer Agreement (BTA) in the United States and it is the first BTA signed by Recurrent Energy. The BTA was signed with Entergy Mississippi in 2018 designating that the utility would take ownership of the project once it began commercial operation.
“It’s a historic day for Entergy Mississippi, our customers and our state,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “Powering communities is the heart of our business, and this power station does that in several ways—by providing clean, green power to customers and a hedge against rising natural gas prices and giving industries with renewable energy goals an incentive to locate or expand operations in our state.”
The Sunflower project raises the bar for solar in the state of Mississippi. As of the 4th quarter of 2021, Mississippi was ranked 36th in the country for installed solar at just under 320 MW. At the time solar was contributing only .67% of the state’s electricity.
In the fall of 2021, Entergy announced its intent to expand renewable energy in its territory when it launched EDGE, for “Economic Development with Green Energy,” a program that aims to replace aging natural gas facilities with 1,000 MW of renewable energy, including solar, over the next five years. This level of added capacity would increase the company’s total power generation portfolio from less than 1% to 17% in three years, and nearly 33% by 2027. Entergy expects to have 11,000 MW of renewable energy generation by the end of 2030.
“We are proud to have completed the largest solar project in Mississippi on behalf of Entergy in a way that has supported Mississippi businesses and paved the way for more renewable energy in the state,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar. “Sunflower is our first build-own-transfer project and our first project in Mississippi. We look forward to supporting the growth of solar throughout the southeast United States and repeating this model which provides additional value for our customers.”
The single-axis tracker-based Sunflower project uses 272,000 PV modules and was built on a 1,000-acre site. Attala Steel Industries, based in Kosciusko, Mississippi supplied 2,475 tons of steel for foundations. Additionally, A-1 Kendrick Fence Company, based in Jackson, Mississippi installed the perimeter fence. Signal Energy LLC served as the EPC provider.
In other recent solar news in the state, the Mississippi Public Service Commission released updated Net Metering and Interconnection Rules with policies that look to increase solar adoption across the board, while also improving access to solar for low- and middle-income residents. And in February of this year, Mississippi Power announced a request for proposal (RFP) for a total of 200 MW of solar projects, which are required to have an export capability of the point of interconnection of at least 20 MWac and must include 25-year energy-only power purchase agreements. The final bid list is planned to be accepted in August.
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