Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power has surpassed 1,000MW of renewable energy development with the acquisition of a controlling interest in the 60MW North Star Solar Facility in California from First Solar, Inc. The remaining interest in the project will be owned by an affiliate of First Solar.
Construction of the North Star Solar Facility began in July 2014, and the plant is expected to start commercial operation this June. First Solar will build, operate and maintain the North Star Solar Facility with 750,000 of its thin-film PV modules mounted on single-axis solar tracking platforms. The facility is Southern Power’s fifth solar acquisition in California.
"Southern Power has acquired more than 1,000 MW of renewables while staying true to its conservative business model, making smart investments to help serve customers' energy needs now and in the future," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "Our partnership with First Solar is helping drive the strategic expansion of renewables in America as Southern Company continues developing the full portfolio of energy resources."
Southern Power's renewable energy portfolio of more than 1,000 MW of generating capacity ownership – either already in operation or under development – was assembled through the strategic development of 15 solar, wind and biomass projects across the United States, including five California solar projects. The Southern Company system has added or announced more than 3,100 MW of renewable projects since January 2012.
The electricity and associated renewable energy credits generated by the facility will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a company that provides energy to approximately 16 million people in Northern and Central California.