WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of the Navy (DON), Mississippi Power and representatives from the Mississippi Public Service Commission celebrated the completion of a four megawatt (MW) direct current solar facility at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport in Gulfport, Mississippi.
The project was commemorated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today on NCBC Gulfport. Notable ceremony presenters and attendees included Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Southeast; Capt. Cheryl Hansen, commanding officer of NCBC Gulfport; Anthony Wilson, president and CEO of Mississippi Power; Richard Walsh, Clean Energy Solutions Program Lead at WGL Energy and Mississippi Public Service Commissioners Sam Britton and Brandon Presley.
"Seeking out alternative energy resources isn't a fad. We aren't doing it because it is the 'hip' thing to do. We are doing it because it is necessary for the future security and resiliency of our Navy," said Bolivar.
With approximately 13,000 solar panels spanning 15 acres, the energy produced can supply enough electricity to power 450 homes. The energy and renewable energy credits may be used to serve Mississippi Power customers with renewable energy, for future renewable energy programs or to sell at whole sale to third parties.
"We are pleased to know this facility will help provide clean energy to hundreds of homes across South Mississippi," Hansen said. "It is in all our best interest to be good stewards of our environment."
Completed in April 2017, the power generated from the project is routed to the electric grid, which produces power for Mississippi Power customers, including NCBC Gulfport.
"Our company is very proud to support our military partners," said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. "We are involved in several renewable energy projects across our service territory. This facility is special not only because it will serve the men and women who protect our country, but also because it is the first solar project completed in our 92-year history in South Mississippi."
In January 2016, the DON and Mississippi Power signed a lease to develop the solar facility on NCBC Gulfport. Hannah Solar, Mississippi Power's developer, financed and built the project. WGL Energy owns and operates the facility.
"WGL Energy is proud to collaborate with distinguished partner organizations to complete an innovative Gulfport solar system, and we congratulate the U.S. Navy for advancing its renewable energy goals," said Sanjiv Mahan, president of WGL Energy Systems. "Our portfolio of integrated solutions continues to draw from the full spectrum of energy sources and available technology to help customers stabilize energy costs, improve the environment, and reduce their carbon footprint."
Adding cost-effective alternative energy provides fuel diversity and increases regional energy resiliency and security.
"It's great to see this partnership with members of industry and the United States Military working together to provide energy to hundreds of homes across the state," Southern District Public Service Commissioner Sam Britton said." Projects like this are so important in diversifying the state's energy portfolio and continuing to supply reliable power to people across the state."
"This project is a step forward in making the Seabee Base more energy independent and therefore making America more energy secure. The benefits of this solar facility help Mississippi Power customers and strengthen America's security," said Mississippi Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley.
The DON continues to improve readiness, combat effectiveness and flexibility through initiatives that focus on energy reliability, resiliency and efficiency.