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Solar power facility at NAS Meridian to bring power to station, community

Solar power facility at NAS Meridian to bring power to station, community

A solar panel is displayed at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new solar generation facility at Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian. The Department of the Navy, Tennessee Valley Authority, East Mississippi Electric Power Association and Silicon Ranch Corporation partnered to develop the solar generation facility at NAS Meridian. The 38-acre facility will generate up to six megawatts of direct current power. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Liaghat/Released)

By Rindi White

This summer, Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi broke ground on a solar generation facility that will provide backup power to the base and clean supplemental power to the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, and East Mississippi Electric Power Association, or EMEPA.

A private company, Silicon Ranch Corp., will fund, build, own, operate and maintain the solar generation facility, which will be built on 38 acres at NAS Meridian. The company will install 51,000 solar photovoltaic panels on the land, which is being leased from the Department of the Navy. The facility is expected to generate up to six megawatts of direct current power. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2018.

“Partnerships like the one between the Department of the Navy, TVA, EMEPA and Silicon Ranch make us stronger and better equipped to complete our mission,” said Capt. Scott Bunnay, commanding officer of NAS Meridian. “NAS Meridian’s success in effectively managing energy resources has been recognized at the highest levels of the Navy, and efforts like the solar project, to diversify energy sources help bases become more resilient and secure.”

According to information from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Nay for Energy, Installations and Environment, the facility will provide power to the grid for consumption by TVA and EMEPA customers, including NAS Meridian. In exchange for the use of on-base land for the solar facility, NAS Meridian will receive in-kind consideration in the form of electrical infrastructure upgrades, microgrid controls and access to the onsite solar energy generation during utility outages, thus increasing the energy resiliency and security of the base.

“The solar installation at NAS Meridian is a great example of how renewable energy sources can provide clean, local generation as a fully integrated part of the larger power system,” said Steve Noe, renewables manager of TVA.

“EMEPA has been a partner of NAS Meridian for nearly 59 years, and we continue to support their efforts in improving their viability,” said TVA chief executive officer Randy Carroll. “This, in turn, aids in the growth of our community.”

“Silicon Ranch is honored to partner with the Department of the Navy TVA and EMEPA on this important solar energy project,” said Matt Kisber, president and CEO of Silicon Ranch, “Forward-thinking organizations like the U.S. Navy have an opportunity to drive positive change, and the leadership for each of our partners on this project deserves tremendous credit for their vision and commitment to bring cost-effective, renewable power to NAS Meridian and to Lauderdale County.”

“The MS Public Service Commission is proud to be a part of today’s ribbon-cutting for this important project,” said Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown. “We commend the Navy for leading the way in making renewable energy a reality for supplying our military with power.”

To learn more about NAS Meridian, visit www.mybaseguide.com/navy/82/nas_meridian.

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