Southern unit buying 99 MW of solar PV capacity in Georgia

A non-utility subsidiary of Southern (NYSE:SO) said Feb. 20 that it is buying 99 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating capacity in Georgia from Tradewind Energy.

Southern Power said that it is acquiring the 80-MW Decatur Parkway project and the 19-MW Decatur County solar project from Tradewind. The two projects are both expected to enter construction during the first half of the year.

Both projects are targeted for commercial operation by the end of 2015, Southern said in a news release.

The projects were proposed by Tradewind Energy and selected by Southern utility subsidiary Georgia Power in a competitive process done through the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative.

Both projects have their local government approvals for construction. “The Georgia PSC approved a consent request from Georgia Power for transfer of ownership of the facilities from Tradewind to Southern Power,” said a Southern spokesperson.

The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the 80-MW facility will be sold under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Georgia Power. Construction of the 80-MW facility is currently scheduled to begin this month.

Both projects will interconnect with the 115-kV Georgia Power infrastructure at the Decatur Industrial Substation, according to a Tradewind website.  

Georgia Power will purchase the energy generated from the 19-MW project under a 20-year PPA. Southern Power will retain the associated RECs, which it may sell to third parties. Construction of the 19-MW facility is currently scheduled to begin in June.

The two projects will be constructed on separate sites totaling approximately 950 acres in southern Georgia’s Decatur County using single-axis tracking technology – optimizing efficiency by directing solar panels to track the sun.

Georgia has become a Southeastern leader in solar energy in recent years.

With the development of the Decatur County projects, Southern Power will own approximately 670 MW of renewable energy generating capacity that is either already in operation or under development.

The company owns seven solar projects in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy and one solar project in partnership with First Solar. Southern Power also owns one of the nation’s largest biomass power plants in Nacogdoches, Texas, and has recently announced plans to develop a 131-MW solar facility in Taylor County, Georgia, which is expected to be completed in 2016.

The Decatur County projects fit Southern Power’s business strategy of growing its wholesale business through the acquisition and construction of generating assets substantially covered by long-term contracts.

Southern Power is wholesale energy provider. With these acquisitions, Southern Power and its subsidiaries will own and operate 21 facilities in eight states, with more than 9,100 MW of generating capacity operating or under development in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas.

Tradewind Energy is based in Kansas. It was founded in 2003. The senior managers of Tradewind have a combined 80 years experience in the independent power development business.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.