Southern Power acquiring 103-MW Butler Solar project in Georgia

Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary Southern Power is acquiring 103-MW Butler solar facility in Georgia from Community Energy Inc.

Southern Power noted in a May 21 statement that it has strategically acquired or is constructing more than 1,100 MW of renewable energy generating capacity with 16 solar, wind and biomass projects, including four solar projects in Georgia.

“The Butler solar facility builds on Southern Company’s innovative approach to diversifying our nation’s energy mix,” said Southern Co. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “Our strategic development of solar in Georgia continues our company’s expansion of renewable energy generation in the Southeast.”

The Butler project was selected by Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power in a competitive process through its Advanced Solar Initiative. The facility, which will be located on about 1,070 acres in Taylor County, Georgia, is expected to enter commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2016. Construction is slated to begin in September 2015, with First Solar Inc. managing the building, operations and maintenance of the facility. The Butler solar facility is expected to consist of more than 1 million of First Solar’s thin-film photovoltaic solar modules mounted on single-axis tracking tables.

The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility will be sold under a 30-year power purchase agreement with Georgia Power, which will have the option to keep or sell the RECs, for the benefit of its customers or renewable energy programs.

Georgia Power on May 7 had sent a letter to the Georgia Public Service Commission asking that the power purchase deal for this project be transferred to Southern Power.  “On December 18, 2014, the Georgia Public Service Commission (the ‘Commission’) approved the executed Agreement for the Purchase of Solar Energy from a Renewable Resource between Georgia Power Company (‘Georgia Power’) and Butler Solar Farm, LLC (‘Butler Solar Farm’) (the ‘Agreement’),” the letter said. “Butler Solar Farm now desires to assign its Agreement to Southern Power Company, subject to the Commission’s approval.”

Southern Power is a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider, meeting the electricity needs of municipalities, electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities. With this acquisition, Southern Power and its subsidiaries will own or have the option to own 25 facilities in nine states, with more than 9,700 MW of generating capacity operating or under development in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.