Author Archives: Ron Barnes

South Mississippi Electric Announces Solar Projects

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI ELECTRIC PLANS FIVE SOLAR POWER FACILITIES

Not-for-profit cooperative hopes to have installations operational by early 2016

Hattiesburg-based South Mississippi Electric (SME) today announced plans to add to its renewable energy portfolio with the construction of five solar power facilities.  The project is scheduled to be operational by early 2016, with plans for a larger scale facility in the future.

The SME solar installations will be small scale (100 kilowatts or less) and located at five different SME member locations including Coahoma, Coast, Delta, Southern Pine, and Singing River electric power cooperatives. The SME board in December 2014 authorized the company to move forward with plans to generate electricity through solar facilities that it would construct and operate.

“Our members have expressed a strong desire that renewable energy be a larger part of our generation mix, and adding solar is the first step — but certainly not the last — in accomplishing that goal. This is an important milestone for South Mississippi Electric as we continue to look for new ways to provide power to members,” said Jim Compton, SME’s general manager and CEO.

SME has spent several months studying various options of solar generation, and now will issue a request for proposals for construction of the facilities. Solar power is considered one of the leading forms of green, or environmentally friendly, energy as panels are used to collect sunlight that is converted into electricity.

Dispersing these small solar facilities at various locations across the state will allow for the better determination of optimum location, best technology, and proper configuration for the future installation of a larger utility scale facility of approximately 10 megawatts. “South Mississippi Electric’s first priority is to make certain that any investments made on behalf of our members are sound, economical and successful,” said Compton.

South Mississippi Electric is a not-for profit cooperative that generates, transmits and sells wholesale electric energy to 11 distribution cooperatives that deliver the electricity to members. Collectively the group is known as the Power of 12.

SME has a diverse energy portfolio that includes natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydropower (another renewable). The broad mix allows the company flexibility to minimize the impact of any significant increases in the cost of a single fuel source. For more information about South Mississippi Electric or future updates on this project, please visit www.MyElectricCooperative.com.