Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning and Turner Renewable Energy founder Ted Turner announced that the companies have acquired and will bring on line a 20 megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Nevada.
The Apex Solar Project was acquired from and was built by SunEdison, a leading global provider of solar energy services and a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR).
“Southern Company is proud to play a leadership role in renewable generation as we deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers,” said Fanning. “Our all-arrows-in-the-quiver approach calls for 21st century coal, nuclear, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency in a diverse fuel mix necessary to meeting growing consumer demand and furthering America’s energy independence.”
Turner, an internationally renowned philanthropist and environmentalist, teamed with Southern Company in January 2010 to form a strategic alliance to pursue development of renewable energy projects in the United States. Southern Company and Turner are focusing on developing and investing in large-scale solar photovoltaic projects in the Southwest, where solar resources are most in demand.
The partnership’s first project was acquisition and development of the 30-megawatt Cimarron Solar Facility on land adjacent to Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch near Raton, N.M.
“We created this partnership to explore large-scale solar power generation projects to expand the technology’s viability as a commercial-scale provider of electricity,” said Turner. “Acquiring this facility is another positive step in that direction and Turner Renewable Energy is excited to be a part of this effort to provide clean, renewable energy in Nevada.”
The Apex Solar Project is located on a 154-acre site in the City of North Las Vegas in Clark County, Nev. SunEdison built the plant and will be responsible for ongoing operations and maintenance for the facility. The company develops, finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers.
“As companies expand their renewable energy portfolios, solar continues to move deliberately down the path to grid parity,” said MEMC CEO Ahmad Chatila. “We are delighted that Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy share our commitment to the value of solar energy and to developing and operating solar projects as a clean and renewable source of energy.”
Construction of the solar array began in October 2011 and commercial operation is expected during the third quarter of 2012. The project will consist of approximately 88,000 poly-crystalline solar modules provided by Trina Solar.
Electricity generated by the plant will serve a 25-year power purchase agreement with Nevada Power Company, a wholly owned unit of NV Energy. Headquartered in Las Vegas, NV Energy, Inc., provides a wide range of energy services and products to approximately 2.4 million citizens of Nevada and nearly 40 million tourists annually.
With the plant’s output covered by a long-term contract, the Apex Solar Project is a natural fit with Southern Company’s overall business strategy and risk profile.