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Burning Daylight: Entergy Mississippi Flips Switch on State's First Solar Project

09/22/2015

DeSoto County installation is one of three Entergy pilot projects in Mississippi

DeSoto County, Miss. -- Representatives from Entergy Mississippi, Inc. and DeSoto County gathered today to celebrate history in the making, and the star of the event was the sun itself.

"We are harnessing the sun to power the future," said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO, as he flipped a ceremonial switch to commemorate the start of production by the Bright Future solar pilot project in DeSoto County. "This is the first completed utility-owned solar installation in the state of Mississippi."

The fixed-tilt solar array produces 500 kilowatts of electricity and will help Entergy answer some of the many questions about solar while giving customers access to this renewable energy source. It is the first of three solar pilot installations Entergy is building in the state. The other two, located in Brookhaven and Jackson, are expected to be operational by the end of the year.

"Spreading the sites across the state will help us understand locational differences, capacity factor, different weather patterns and irradiance at different locations," said Aaron Hill, Entergy Mississippi manager of transmission planning. "The project will also help answer questions about the economics of solar power and how efficient or feasible it will be at various locations in Mississippi."

Construction on the Jackson solar array began in June. It is a ground-mounted system that tracks the sun's movement throughout the day. The Brookhaven installation is a fixed array, much like the one in DeSoto County.

Combined, the three sites will provide 1,500 kilowatts of electricity (500 kW each), which is enough to power the equivalent of 175 homes. The projects will include real-time data monitoring that will be linked to Entergy Mississippi's website for all to view.

The project, at an approximate cost of less than $5 million for all three sites, is a collaborative effort with Stion Corporation, which manufactures solar panels in Hattiesburg.

The Bright Future Solar Pilot Project is part of the "Bright Future" plan, a blueprint for Mississippi's electric service needs through 2025. The plan, approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, is designed to improve reliability, modernize the grid, maintain an adequate workforce, stabilize rates, use new technologies and attract new industry.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides electricity to approximately 442,000 customers in 45 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $12 billion and approximately 13,000 employees.

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