Southern Company acquires nation's largest DC tracking solar installation

Sep 28, 2012, 14:49 ET from Southern Company

ATLANTA, Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company today announced its acquisition of the largest direct current solar tracking array of its kind.  The Spectrum Solar Facility – a 30-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic installation in Clark County, Nev. – will have greater DC capacity than any tracking-based installation in the United States.  Tracking technology enables greater operating efficiency by optimally directing solar panels as the sun moves across the sky.

The plant is located on a 311-acre site and will be built, operated and maintained by SunEdison, a leading global provider of solar energy services and a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR).

"Southern Company is committed to energy innovation and leads our industry in proprietary research and development," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "This project pushes the boundaries of solar energy by harnessing the power of large-scale tracking technology."

The Spectrum Solar Facility is the third facility jointly acquired by Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy.  This partnership demonstrates a commitment to energy innovation and the commercial viability of renewable energy resources in America.

Ted Turner, an internationally renowned philanthropist and environmentalist, teamed with Southern Company in January 2010 to strategically develop renewable energy projects in the United States. Southern Company and Turner are concentrating their investments in large-scale solar photovoltaic projects where solar resources are most available.  

The partnership's first project was the acquisition and development of the 30-MW Cimarron Solar Facility near Raton, N.M. It was, at the time of purchase, the largest solar PV plant in the nation. In June 2012, the companies made their second purchase, the 20-MW Apex Solar Facility located in North Las Vegas, Nev.

"It's gratifying to see that our partnership with Southern Company is achieving its goal of expanding large-scale solar power generation and demonstrating the technology's feasibility as a commercial-scale electricity source," said Turner. "Southern Company is taking a leadership position in finding innovative solutions to diversifying the nation's energy portfolio with a greater mix of renewables, and we're pleased to be a partner in that effort."

SunEdison continues to play a major role in the expansion of clean, renewable solar energy.

"We are pleased to once again work with Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy to provide high-quality solar power plants as they continue to build their renewable portfolio," said Carlos Domenech, President of SunEdison.  "Our development capabilities and execution track record have made us a trusted provider in the marketplace.  We look forward to continuing to provide visionary leaders like Southern Company with solar energy solutions that make economic sense."

Construction of the Spectrum Solar Project is expected to begin in October and commercial operation is anticipated by the second quarter of 2013.

The plant's output will serve a 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy, making the Spectrum Solar Facility a natural fit in Southern Company's overall business strategy and low-risk profile.

NV Energy, Inc., headquartered in Las Vegas, provides a wide range of energy services and products to approximately 2.4 million citizens of Nevada and nearly 40 million tourists annually.

SunEdison is a global provider of solar-energy services. The company develops, finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, and predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers. In 2011 SunEdison interconnected approximately 300 megawatts of solar throughout the world. For more information about SunEdison, please visit

Turner Renewable Energy is wholly owned by Ted Turner. Turner Enterprises, Inc., a private company, manages the business interests, land holdings and investments of Ted Turner, including the oversight of 2 million acres in 12 states and in Argentina, and more than 55,000 bison.

With 4.4 million customers and more than 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices below the national average. Southern Company also is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas rankings. Visit our website at

SOURCE Southern Company