The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted unanimously this week to approve a solar + battery storage facility in Walnut Grove in Leake County.
The small utility-scale solar facility, which will be owned and operated by Mississippi Power Company, will produce 1.285 megawatts of clean, carbon-free solar energy for Mississippi Power Company’s customers. It will also have a battery storage capacity of 5.14 megawatt-hours of electricity for those same customers and could support a future microgrid for the Walnut Grove area which would isolate the town from outages on the larger grid. The project represents a total investment of $7.8 million in Leake County and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.
Central District Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey said, “The project represents Mississippi Power Company’s first ever stand-alone solar development and construction project and even represents the first battery energy storage at this scale in Mississippi being developed by a utility company. I’m excited to see this solar project move forward and the benefits it will bring to Mississippi Power customers – particularly those customers in Walnut Grove. It will also provide a valuable demonstration of combined solar generation and battery storage, which advances this important technology for Mississippi and the region.”
“This facility will be a valuable research and demonstration project that will help determine if these new concepts improve cost effectiveness for our customers, and provide knowledge that can be applied to future applications as these technologies continue to advance,” said Renewable Energy Program Manager Allison Little with Mississippi Power. “This solar and battery storage facility will expand Mississippi Power’s energy portfolio and further our commitment to deliver safe and reliable energy to the communities we serve.”