“It’s a historic day for Entergy Mississippi, our customers and our state,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “Powering communities is the heart of our business, and this power station will do that in several ways—by providing clean, green power to customers and a hedge against rising natural gas prices, and giving industries with renewable energy goals an incentive to locate or expand operations in our state.”
The solar station is also the first plant in what will be the largest expansion of renewable power in the state’s history. 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.
Recurrent Energy, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, Inc., developed and built the 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. The Sunflower Solar Station is another milestone in our continued transformation of our power generation portfolio, meeting customers’ needs with clean, efficient and diverse sources of electricity while maintaining affordable rates.