- South Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA) brought two small solar power plants online, which the association of 11 Mississippi cooperatives claims are the first on the Gulf Coast, the Jackson Sun Herald reports.
- SMEPA said these 100 kW projects were spurred by market research showing a demand for renewable energy from the utilities' customers and will go to to a portion of the association's 153,000 homes and businesses.
- SMEPA is planning three additional projects 100 kW or smaller across the state, while also working with solar developer Origis Energy USA to develop a 52 MW project.
Mississippi's nascent solar market is growing due in part to Mississippi utilities starting solar projects and diversifying their fuel mix at the behest of customers.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Mississippi ranked 47 in the nation for installed solar capacity, with none installed in 2014.
But with new net metering policy set in place last year and new projects from the state's utilities in motion, the market appears poised to expand.
Mississippi Power Co., a subsidiary of investor-owned utility Southern Co., plans to bring a a 4 MW array, a 50 MW array, and a 52 MW project online in the state by the end of the year, which the news outlet notes will be the largest solar installations in the state.
SMEPA generation is now sourced from nuclear power, hydroelectric power, natural gas, coal and solar energy.