ATLANTA, May 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy today 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."
Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider, meeting the electricity needs of municipalities, electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities.
Southern Power and its subsidiaries own and operate 17 facilities in eight states, with more than 8,800 MW of generating capacity operating in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic solar systems, which use its advanced module and system technology. The company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment.
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 394,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. El Paso Electric has a net dependable generating capability of 1,852 MW.
Turner Renewable Energy is wholly owned by Ted Turner. Turner Enterprises, Inc., a private company, manages the business interests, land holdings and investments of Ted Turner, including the oversight of 2 million acres in 12 states and in Argentina, and more than 55,000 bison.
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