Southern Co. to build major solar project in Georgia

Posted on 18 Dec 2014 by Tim Brown

Southern Power a subsidiary of Southern Co. yesterday announced plans to develop a 131-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) solar project in Georgia capable of generating enough electricity to power 21,000 homes.

According to Southern Co., the electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) will be sold to three Georgia electric membership corporations.

“Southern Company is committed to developing renewables as a component of the full portfolio of energy resources,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “Our strategic solar expansion helps build our system’s diverse fuel mix and solar generation capacity to prepare for America’s energy future.”

Southern Power has selected First Solar to be the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the facility. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in September 2015, and the project is expected to achieve commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The solar facility, which will be constructed on a 911-acre site in Taylor County, is expected to consist of approximately 1.6 million thin-film PV solar modules mounted on single-axis tracking tables manufactured by First Solar.

The electricity and associated RECs generated by the facility will be sold under 25-year purchase power agreements with Cobb Electric Membership Corporation (Cobb EMC), Flint Electric Membership Corporation (doing business as Flint Energies) and Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation (Sawnee EMC). Cobb EMC has contracted for approximately 101 MW, and Flint Energies and Sawnee EMC have each contracted for approximately 15 MW.

Atlanta-based Southern Company has more than 4.4m customers and nearly 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity. The company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications.