by Staff Writers
Atlanta GA (SPX) May 28, 2014
Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy has announced the acquisition of the largest solar facility in New Mexico - the 50-megawatt (MW) Macho Springs Solar Facility. The Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership's seventh solar project and its second-largest overall, the facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 18,000 homes.
"In partnership with Turner Renewable Energy, Southern Company has created one of the nation's largest solar portfolios," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "Our strategic solar expansion demonstrates our commitment to the full portfolio of energy resources."
The Macho Springs Solar Facility was built and will be operated and maintained by First Solar, a leading global provider of comprehensive PV solar systems utilizing its advanced thin-film modules. Electricity generated by the facility will serve a 20-year purchase power agreement with El Paso Electric (EPE).
Ted Turner, owner of Turner Renewable Energy, teamed with Southern Company through a subsidiary in January 2010 to form a strategic alliance to pursue development of renewable energy projects in the United States. The partnership has primarily focused on developing and investing in large-scale solar PV projects in the Southwest, where solar resources are most available. The Macho Springs Solar Facility brings the partnership's overall solar capacity to more than 290 MW.
"The acquisition of the Macho Springs facility is another positive step in advancing the development of solar technologies," said Turner. "Turner Renewable Energy is pleased to continue our collaboration as a strategic partner with Southern Company."
Construction of the plant began in July 2013 and commercial operation is targeted for this week. The Macho Springs Solar Facility is located on an approximately 600-acre site in Luna County, N.M.
"We are proud of our successful ongoing relationship with Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy," said First Solar Senior Vice President of Business Development Tim Rebhorn. "We are honored to once again provide an asset to the partnership's growing renewable energy portfolio."
The acquisition fits Southern Power's business strategy of growing the wholesale business in targeted markets through acquiring generating assets and building new units, the output of which is significantly covered by long-term contracts.
"The Macho Springs Solar Facility purchase power agreement will make El Paso Electric a national leader in cost-effective solar energy technologies," said EPE Chief Executive Officer Tom Shockley. "El Paso Electric looks forward to this new partnership to continue our commitment to build a portfolio that includes renewable energy technologies to help us make overall power in our region dependable, safe and cleaner to our 394,000 customers."
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