Alabama Power wins approval for two 10.6-MW solar projects

On Nov. 3, the Alabama Public Service Commission approved the first projects under Alabama Power‘s Renewable Generation Certificate (RGC) program, with the solar projects to be located on two Army bases in Alabama.

The combined solar facilities at Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) and Fort Rucker are 10.6 MW each in size. These two renewable projects provide benefit to all Alabama Power customers due, in large part, to securing long-term electric service contracts, said the utility, which is a subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO). Initial contracts are for 10 years but are expected to be extended well beyond then.

The utility is planning to sign 30-year easements for the land at the bases for the projects. Construction expected to begin in spring 2016 and to be complete before the end of 2016.

Alabama Power will develop, own and operate the facilities. Strata Solar of North Carolina is doing the actual build. Energy from the facilities will flow on to the Alabama Power grid. Combined the total cost for both projects is approximately $48 million. They will take up about 100 acres each at the two facilities.

Under the RGC, Alabama Power can secure up to 500 MW of renewable generation over the next six years. These projects can be self-build, built by others, or be covered by purchase-power contracts. The projects must be reviewed by the PSC and the state Attorney General’s office and voted on by the PSC. Alabama Power said it intends to do an open request for proposals sometime next year to solicit market offers for more renewables to serve customers.

“We’re proud to be working with the Army to support the Anniston Army Depot and Fort Rucker, to help them meet their goals,” said Tony Smoke, vice president of Marketing for Alabama Power. He said the projects provide benefits to all Alabama Power customers due, in large part, to the company securing long-term power contracts with the military installations. The two facilities will continue to purchase electricity from Alabama Power under separate and existing electric service contracts.

“Fort Rucker and the Anniston Army Depot are not only important customers for Alabama Power. They are important to Alabama and to Alabama’s economy,” Smoke said. “These project help support the military’s goals while also providing benefits for all our customers.”

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.