Microsoft invests in 6.6 MW solar facility in Mississippi


Microsoft is no stranger to investing in solar energy. Ranked at the top of the charts in the Solar Means Business 2022 report that analyzes commercial solar adoption. The report tracked 47,000 corporate solar installations and names Meta, Amazon, Apple, Walmart and Microsoft as the top five corporate solar users in the country.

The Panola II Solar Farm is Microsoft’s most recent solar investment, and it is one of three new solar projects launched by Clearloop in collaboration with the Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association (TVEPA). TVEPA is working with Clearloop and parent company, Silicon Ranch, to bring the renewable energy to the county. Silicon Ranch will be the developer, owner and operator of all three Panola solar projects.

Clearloop helps fund solar projects for organizations of all sizes. By taking emissions measurements, the company can compare the impact of renewable energy projects on driving down emissions, to determine where new solar generation can displace the most carbon.

“Decarbonizing the electricity grid is key to combatting climate change,” said Danielle Decatur, director of environmental justice at Microsoft. “Adding new solar projects where they can displace the most emissions will help achieve this outcome as quickly as possible, and it’s important that we do so while also supporting local communities.”

Clearloop is working with Microsoft to purchase all of the environmental attributes associated with the life of the Panola II project and using those funds to commission the project. Microsoft provided Clearloop with upfront payment for renewable energy credits (RECs), which Clearloop said helps with the funding of the project, and it also helps deploy new solar projects where they can drive down the most emissions.

The first of the three Panola projects in April, and they are expected to be complete in 2024. The projects are located in Batesville, Mississippi (Panola County), which is at the cross-section of the Mississippi Delta and the Appalachian Foothills. The land footprint for this project is approximately 80 acres.

The 6.6 MW(dc) Panola II project will use Nextracker’s Horizon XTR trackers, which are terrain-following trackers that enable the project to follow the natural contours of the land. Just over 14,000 First Solar 6+ bifacial modules will be installed on the trackers, Clearloop reports.

Electricity generated from Panola II will serve over 27,000 of TVEPA’s residential, commercial and industrial customers in nine North Mississippi Counties.

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