Flip the Switch – solar ranches now operating in Panola

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Clearloop, a Silicon Ranch company, “flipped the switch” on the first two of three planned solar projects in Panola County —a community at the cross-section of the Mississippi Delta and the Appalachian Foothills.

Clearloop commissioned the 6.6 MWDC Panola I Solar Farm and 6.6 MWDC Panola II Solar Farm in partnership with the local power company, Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association (TVEPA) and the local economic development group, the Panola Partnership. These projects, when combined with the Panola III Solar Farm, will prevent over 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and generate enough renewable, cost-effective energy to power approximately 3,000 area homes annually.

Through Clearloop’s innovative approach to helping organizations reclaim their carbon footprint, over 30 companies of all sizes, including Microsoft, Vista Equity Partners, Chicory Wealth, Rivian, Oak View Group, Goodr, and Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals, have come together to support the Panola I and II Solar Farms. The collective efforts of these organizations have driven decarbonization and economic growth in the county, and powered Clearloop’s commitment to maximize the environmental, educational, and economic benefits of climate dollars.

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Inspired by this collaboration and the effects that the new solar infrastructure provided by Clearloop will have on the fabric of the county for years to come, Panola County leadership unveiled the county’s new logo during the Flip the Switch event. The new logo integrates solar panels into its design, reinforcing the positive impact of the projects on the community’s identity as a symbol of the resilience of Panola County.

The event was open to partners and members of the local community. Speakers included:

  • Laura Zapata, CEO & Co-Founder, Clearloop
  • Joe Azar, Executive Director, Economic Development for Panola County
  • Brad Robison, CEO, Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association
  • Emily Deer, Associate Advisor, Chicory Wealth

As is the case with all Clearloop projects, the Panola solar projects were developed and will be owned and operated by Silicon Ranch, Clearloop’s parent company, for the projects’ entire 40-year lifetime. Through a disciplined and community-focused approach, Clearloop and Silicon Ranch will maintain long-term partnerships with TVEPA and the Panola County community. Panola County’s partnership with Clearloop will help advance its ambitious goals for economic development.

“Today is a monumental day for Panola County. Through our partnership with Clearloop and support from numerous organizations, we are able to bring locally generated, reliable renewable energy to our community for the first time ever,” said Joe Azar, Executive Director of Economic Development for Panola County. “The Panola I and Panola II Solar Farms were strategically sited to welcome new businesses into our community, as these projects will serve as beacons of economic growth, demonstrating that our forward-thinking community is ready to meet the business requirements of the modern economy. Panola County is pleased to capture the significance of these solar projects in our official county logo.”

“As a local power company marking our 85th anniversary serving Northwest Mississippi and driving economic development through electrification, our top priority is providing superior service to our customers,” said Brad Robison, CEO of TVEPA. “Maintaining our legacy requires that we provide cost-effective electricity from renewable sources, and we are proud to partner with Clearloop to introduce reliable, locally produced renewable energy that will continue to power generations to come.”

“By celebrating the successful completion of the very first solar projects in Panola County, Mississippi, we’re also highlighting why Clearloop is laser-focused on bringing communities and companies together to make meaningful investments that maximize both the economic and climate impact of new clean energy infrastructure,” said Laura Zapata, CEO and Co-founder of Clearloop. “We’re grateful for the trust the Panola community and our customers have placed in us to bring these projects to life, putting climate dollars to work to help accelerate equitable access to clean energy. We’re looking forward to the sunny years ahead of carbon-free electricity, as we build on the legacy of innovation that is now officially etched into the Panola County logo.”

Project information:

  • The first of the three projects, the 6.6 MWDC Panola I Solar Farm, is supported by 30+ organizations including Vista Equity Partners and 21 of their portfolio companies, Uber, Rivian, Oak View Group/GOAL, Infoblox, FarmHouse Fresh, Chicory Wealth, Goodr, Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals, Aether Diamonds, and Material Bank. This project exemplifies how Clearloop is decarbonizing the economy by enabling organizations of all sizes to reclaim their carbon footprints.
  • The second project, the 6.6 MWDC Panola II Solar Farm, is supported by Microsoft as a continuation of the company’s efforts to diversify and scale-up the supply of impactful renewable energy and mechanisms enabling access for all. By collaborating with Clearloop, Microsoft is expanding equitable access to clean energy and decarbonizing the grid in the Mississippi Delta region through an upfront payment for long-term renewable energy credits.
  • Vanderbilt University is supporting the 4.8 MWDC Panola III Solar Farm, as part of a multiyear collaboration with Clearloop that builds on the university’s commitment to power its campus entirely through renewable energy and maintain carbon neutrality. The project is expected to be completed in Fall 2024.

“Partnering with Clearloop has played a significant role in helping Chicory Wealth work towards achieving our ambitious climate commitment: ​​halving greenhouse gas emissions before 2030, achieving net zero emissions before 2050, and disclosing our progress on a yearly basis,” said Emily Deer, Associate Advisor at Chicory Wealth. “Clearloop provided us with the perfect opportunity to reclaim our carbon footprint, while allowing our company to help expand access to renewable energy, and the economic opportunities it provides, in Panola County.”

“As a company committed to being carbon negative by 2030, we are proud to support Clearloop’s model for accelerating grid decarbonization and prioritizing equitable access to clean energy in communities like Panola County where we can make an impact,” said Danielle Decatur, Director of Environmental Justice at Microsoft. “We’re proud to play a role in bringing the Panola II solar project online, as the completion of these solar projects showcases the tangible economic and environmental benefits we can bring to local communities across the country.”