ATLANTA, April 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Leadership from Georgia Power, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI) and the General Services Administration (GSA) joined elected officials, community leaders and other dignitaries today at Fort Benning near Columbus to mark the beginning of construction of a new 30 megawatt (MW) solar project at the base. The Fort Benning solar facility is the first of three separate Georgia Power solar projects currently in development on Georgia Army bases. Each project will be 30 MW in size and use photovoltaic panels to produce energy for the state's electric grid. The projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.
As part of the review and approval of the company's 2007 Integrated Resource Plan, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the development of three cost-effective renewable projects of up to 30 MW to be owned by Georgia Power. The three projects will be brought online at or below the company's avoided cost, the amount projected it would cost the company to generate comparable energy from other sources. Future groundbreaking events for the remaining two projects are expected to take place at Fort Gordon near Augusta and Fort Stewart near Savannah.
At the event, Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, noted the importance of the project to Georgia, as well as the extensive collaboration between the utility, the state's PSC and the U.S. Army needed to bring the project to construction.
"Georgia military bases like Fort Benning are not only critical for national security, but also are community cornerstones vital to our state's continued economic wellbeing," said Bowers. "The future benefits of this solar project to the base, as well as all other innovative Georgia Power programs which enhance Georgia's position as a solar leader, have been made possible thanks to the leadership and foresight of the commissioners at the PSC and our focus on constructive, proactive energy planning."
Georgia Power is cultivating renewable energy as part of a diverse generation portfolio and fueling Georgia's momentum as one of the fastest growing solar markets in the nation. Through its various solar programs, the company expects to have more than 900 MW of solar capacity online by the end of 2016 – the largest voluntary solar portfolio of an investor-owned utility operating without a renewable portfolio standard, and one of the largest in the nation. All of Georgia Power's solar resources will have been procured from the market through competitive bidding, or at contracted prices designed to prevent upward pressure on rates. To learn more about Georgia Power's solar programs, including services available for homeowners, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com/solar.
About Georgia Power Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company's promise to 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, 21st century coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Consistently recognized as a leader in customer service, Georgia Power was recently ranked highest in overall business customer satisfaction among large utilities in the South by J.D. Power and Associates. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower) and Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower).
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the development, completion of construction, subsequent operation and cost of the solar projects currently in development by Georgia Power Company on Georgia Army bases and the future solar generating capacity of Georgia Power Company. Georgia Power Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of generating facilities, to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses, to satisfy any operational and environmental performance standards, including the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; and potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Georgia Power Company. Georgia Power Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.