Company building solar farm making further investments in county

By BY RECARDO THOMAS STAFF REPORTER,

A surge of assistance is on its way to the Mississippi Delta.

In addition to the big announcement made last week regarding the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s approval for the construction of a new 100-megawatt solar panel farm slated for Sunflower County, on Monday, Economic Development Director Fred Washington announced that Recurrent Energy, manufacturer of the panels for the project, will make additional investments in county communities.

Washington told the Sunflower County Board of Supervisors that a Recurrent representative reached out to him in late March and asked what they could do to assist the citizens of the county with regard to the Coronavirus.

In a phone call on Tuesday, Washington said, “I reached out to all of  the mayors and several organizations, I made an announcement on the emergency list with Denny’s (Evans) group and said ‘does anybody have projects or anything that they need funded, contact me with those projects, a wish list.”

Washington said 13 organizations responded to his call-out and once he submitted their requests to Recurrent, the company selected five out of the 13 to fund. He said three municipalities were accepted along with Platinum Plus Care and Delta Advantage Center.

Washington said he doesn't know if the projects were fully funded by Recurrent, but if they were, it would amount collectively to $127,625. He said the City of Indianola requested $30,000 for virus-related supplies such as masks, gloves, and disinfectant, plus monies to enhance internet service for children because of school closures.

The City of Drew requested $9,000 for supplies and the City of Ruleville requested $34,000 for supplies, plus the repair of a water tank at the North Sunflower Medical Center.

In addition to the three municipalities, Platinum Plus Care of Indianola requested $9,625 for supplies, gloves and masks and Delta Advantage Center of Moorhead, a newly-formed organization, requested $45,000 to initiate a food bank.

Washington said Delta Advantage Center was formed in January of this year and it has partnered with the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi  and with another organization out of Hattiesburg to provide food. He said the first shipment is due in this week and the food bank will be located in Moorhead, but it will serve the entire county.

Washington said the Delta Advantage Center has plans to construct a facility in Moorhead near where the Dollar General store is located on MS-3, but complication due to the virus has hindered that progress. So now several other options are being considered, but for the time being they plan to distribute the food from the back of the trailer.

He said Recurrent Energy informed him on April 2 that the checks had been mailed out although to his knowledge they have not made it into the hands of the recipients yet. “It may take a few weeks,” is the message Washington said he received.

Recurrent Energy is a California-based company; however, Washington said that the Austin, Texas division will be overseeing the construction of the solar farm set to begin construction September 1, which will be located between Drew and Ruleville just off U.S. 49.

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