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South Miss. Electric pursues solar project pact

MBJ staff 

South Mississippi Electric announced Thursday intent to reach an agreement with Origis Energy USA, to generate electricity at a 52-megawatt solar energy facility near Sumrall in Lamar County.

The parties have signed a letter of intent to proceed toward an agreement for Origis to design, develop, install and operate the electric generation site, and South Mississippi Electric will purchase all its power. The project is expected to be operational by December 2016 and will provide electricity to about 10,000 homes in the first year. Origis Energy is a developer and investor in solar projects in the Americas and Europe.

The utility announced in May that it would build five smaller solar installations at five member locations — the Coahoma, Coast, Delta, Southern Pine and Singing River electric power associations. Those solar generation sites are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

For many years, our goal for generation facilities has been fuel diversity,’’ said Jim Compton, South Mississippi general manager and chief executive. “Today we announce a new goal, to move beyond fuel:  to add generation that does not require fossil fuel.  Our members overwhelmingly want us to diversify our energy to include renewables, and we are responding.”

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 419,000 customers.



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