Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power acquired the 150MW Solar Gen 2 solar facility in California from First Solar. As the largest solar facility in the Southern Power portfolio, Solar Gen 2 is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 60,000 average California homes.
"Our strategic renewable development has earned Southern Company a reputation as a national leader in solar," said Southern Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas A. Fanning. "Expanding our partnership with First Solar will help us continue to develop a more diverse energy mix for America."
The Solar Gen 2 project spans three sites - each of which is approximately a 50-MW grid-connected solar PV system - comprising a combined 1,451 acres of land in Imperial County, California. The project is being built with more than one million thin-film PV solar modules mounted on single-axis tracking tables, and it will be operated and maintained by First Solar after being completed later in the fourth quarter 2014. Southern Power will initially own 100% of the project, with First Solar agreeing to acquire a minority interest subject to certain terms and upon fulfillment of certain conditions.
Electricity generated by the plant is contracted to serve a 25-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy.
Southern Power has previously acquired seven solar facilities with Turner Renewable Energy, with Southern Power's ownership of the facilities totaling 262 MW. The acquisition of Solar Gen 2 is expected to increase the total Southern Power-owned solar capacity to 338 MW. The total generation capacity of the eight projects is anticipated to be 441 MW.
The acquisition fits Southern Power's business strategy of growing the wholesale business in targeted markets through acquiring generating assets and building new units, the output of which is significantly covered by long-term contracts. California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires investor-owned utilities, publicly owned utilities, electric service providers and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33% of retail sales by the end of 2020.