Southern Co. unit expands solar power portfolio in North Carolina

southern company solar construction elp

Southern Co. unit Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy announced the acquisition of the companies' second solar project in North Carolina—the nearly 74 MW Rutherford Farm facility—from Cypress Creek Renewables.

"The strategic acquisition of the Rutherford Farm is another step in the development of our solar portfolio," said Southern Power President and CEO Buzz Miller. "This project aligns with our business model as we continue our growth as a renewable energy leader."

With more than 2,200 MW of renewable generating capacity ownership, Southern Power assembled its nationally recognized renewable portfolio through the strategic acquisition or development of 30 solar, wind and biomass projects that are either in operation or under construction across the United States.

Ted Turner, owner of Turner Renewable Energy, first teamed with Southern Co. through a unit in January 2010 to form a strategic alliance to pursue development of renewable energy projects in the United States. This is Southern Power's 10th solar project with Turner Renewable Energy and brings the partnership's overall solar power capacity to more than 415 MW.

"Turner Renewable Energy's trusted partnership with Southern Power continues to advance the development of renewable technologies across the country," said Turner. "We are pleased with our growing relationship and today's acquisition in North Carolina, which further expands the growth of solar energy."

Cypress Creek Renewables is developing and constructing the Rutherford Farm and will serve as the operations and maintenance contractor. Construction activities began in February, and the facility is expected to be commercially operational in December. The project will be covered by a long-term power purchase agreement.

Located on 489 acres in Rutherford County, Rutherford Farm is expected to consist of 289,104 fixed-tilt, monocrystalline solar panels manufactured by Trina Solar. Once operational, the facility is expected to be capable of generating enough electricity to help meet the energy needs of about 11,500 average North Carolina homes.

The Rutherford project fits 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 supplies wholesale generation to more than 40 energy customers that serve more than 40 million end users across the country.

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