RULEVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – The largest solar power project in Mississippi will be located in Sunflower County. Entergy Mississippi’s power station will provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to power up to 16,000 homes.
“What you’re seeing is over a 1,000 acres of solar panels. Some 271,000 solar panels, 90 miles of wire and cables in the ground, 13 miles of fences, and nine miles of rows. So, it is a very large industrial site, and we’re excited to be making that investment here,” explained Haley Fisackerly, President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi.
Entergy provides electricity to 461,000 customers in 45 counties throughout the state. Under a program called EDGE, for “Economic Development with Green Energy,” the company plans to replace some aging natural gas plants with 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy over the next five years.
“The revenue will benefit our schools. It’ll benefit hospitals, bring the energy bill down. So many benefits that they will offer us by generating these jobs. We need jobs in Sunflower, and if you’re investing this much money into Sunflower County, we’re proud of it,” said Riley Rice, president of Sunflower County Board of Supervisors.
Recurrent Energy, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, Inc., developed and built the 100-megawatt Sunflower Solar Station for Entergy Mississippi, which will own it for the life of the facility. Sunflower is one of the first utility-scale solar projects to be constructed under a Build Transfer Agreement in the United States. Recurrent Energy signed a BTA with Entergy Mississippi in 2018 designating the regulated utility to own the Sunflower Solar project when it reached commercial operation. The BTA was approved unanimously by the Mississippi Public Service Commission in April 2020.
The Sunflower Solar Station employed Mississippi vendors and construction workers. Attala Steel Industries, based in Kosciusko, supplied 2,475 tons of steel for foundations. Additionally, A-1 Kendrick Fence Company, based in Jackson, installed the perimeter fence. More than half of the labor hours spent on the project’s construction were from workers local to the area and surrounding counties. Signal Energy LLC served as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction provider.
“We are proud to have commissioned 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 Office 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 emissions-free, renewable energy plant sits on approximately 1,000 acres in Sunflower County and connects to Entergy’s transmission grid in Ruleville. The plant is a single axis tracking photovoltaic power generator with 272,000 PV modules.
In 2021, Entergy Corporation announced plans to triple its renewable energy portfolio over a three-year period. The company expects to have 11,000 megawatts of renewable energy generation by the end of 2030.