ATLANTA, Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The largest solar installation acquired by Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy, the Campo Verde Solar Facility, began commercial operation on Oct. 25. The 139-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) installation in Imperial County, Calif., more than doubles Southern Company's solar capacity, consists of nearly 2.3 million thin-film PV modules and is expected to generate enough electricity to power nearly 48,000 homes.
"Southern Company is building for America's energy future – and solar is an important part of our continued effort to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable power," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "Completing the Campo Verde Solar Facility helps us strategically incorporate more renewables into our diverse energy portfolio."
The plant, located on nearly 1,400 acres, was built and is operated and maintained by First Solar, a leading global provider of comprehensive PV solar systems. The PV modules use First Solar's patented thin-film technology and employ a fixed-tilt design.
Ted Turner, owner of Turner Renewable Energy, teamed with Southern Company through a subsidiary in January 2010 to form a strategic alliance to pursue the development of renewable energy projects in the United States. The partnership has primarily focused on acquiring solar PV projects where solar resources are most favorable.
In April 2013, the Campo Verde Solar Facility became the fifth project jointly acquired by Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. Including this facility, the partnership has acquired more than 220 MW of solar generation in four states.
Electricity generated by the Campo Verde Solar Facility will serve a 20-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy. Headquartered in San Diego, SDG&E provides energy service to 3.4 million people through 1.4 million electric meters and 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.
The Campo Verde Solar Facility fits Southern Power's business strategy of growing the wholesale business in targeted markets by acquiring generating assets and building new units, the output of which is significantly covered by long-term contracts. California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) is one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. The RPS program requires investor-owned utilities, publicly-owned utilities, electric service providers and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33 percent of retail sales by the end of 2020.
Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider, meeting the electricity needs of municipalities, electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities. Southern Power and its subsidiaries own and operate 15 facilities in eight states, with more than 8,700 MW of generating capacity operating in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic solar systems, which use its advanced thin-film modules. The company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment.
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 nearly 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast through its subsidiaries. A leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable 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 energy innovation, excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company and its subsidiaries are leading the nation's nuclear renaissance through the construction of the first new nuclear units to be built in a generation of Americans and are demonstrating their commitment to energy innovation through the development of a state-of-the-art coal gasification plant. Southern Company has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer and listed by DiversityInc as a top company for Blacks. The company received the 2012 Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute for its leadership in new nuclear development, was named Electric Light & Power magazine's Utility of the Year for 2012 and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.
SOURCE Southern Company