WEST POINT — A $200 million solar power generation and storage facility in Clay County was approved for construction and operation in a Thursday ceremony, and while the timeline for the project has been pushed back, construction is expected to begin by mid-2023.
The announcement came at a ceremony at Prairie Wildlife, where Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley officially signed an order for Florida-based Origis Energy to construct and operate a 2,000-acre facility near the Yokohama tire plant in Clay County.
“We do a high-level preliminary design where we take into account all site constraints, and we define the boundary of the project,” Origis Director of Development Jason Rogers said. “Now’s the time where we turn it over to the engineers to do the detailed design engineering, all the procurements, getting our contractors on board. That’s what’s going on right now.”
Once complete, the solar plant — MS Solar 7 — will produce 200 megawatts of power, enough to supply 45,600 homes. The project will create hundreds of construction jobs and up to five permanent jobs to operate the facility once it goes online.
Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins previously told The Dispatch the project will generate upwards of $500,000 annually in a fee-in-lieu agreement, which will be split evenly between West Point and Clay County. After 10 years, the project would generate more than $1 million annually.
Rogers said the facility was intended to be operational by the end of 2023, but due to issues in the supply chain of its solar panels, among other factors, that date had to be pushed back a year. MS Solar 5 and 6 in Lowndes County, near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, were also delayed by about a year but are now undergoing site preparations and are expected to be complete by the end of 2023.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that the world has been thrown into upheaval in the last couple of years. We deal with a very complex supply chain web,” Rogers said. “We have been just as much if not more affected by that than any other industry. So, that was a part of the delays.”
Once the solar plant goes online, it will sell its power to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
At the ceremony, Presley addressed a crowd of 10 people, including local officials, state legislators, and representatives of Origis Energy. He told the group this signing is part of an ongoing strategy by the Commission to help support renewable energy.
“The advancement of this project is a game changer for Clay County and the Golden Triangle,” Presley said in a press release shortly after the ceremony. “It will create jobs, boost economic development, and show the world that Mississippi is committed to an innovative approach to renewable energy expansion.”
The Public Service Commission has approved more than $1.4 billion in renewable energy investments since 2020, which includes more than $500 million in the Golden Triangle alone, Presley said.
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