Southern Company subsidiary tops 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy development with North Star solar acquisition
Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power, a national leader in renewables, has surpassed 1,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy development with the acquisition of a controlling interest in the 60-MW North Star Solar Facility in California from First Solar, Inc. The remaining interest in the project will be owned by an affiliate of First Solar.
“Southern Power has acquired more than 1,000 MW of renewables while staying true to its conservative business model, making smart investments to help serve customers’ energy needs now and in the future,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “Our partnership with First Solar is helping drive the strategic expansion of renewables in America as Southern Company continues developing the full portfolio of energy resources.”
First Solar will build, operate and maintain the North Star Solar Facility. Construction began in July 2014, and the plant is expected to enter commercial operation this June. The facility is expected to be capable of generating enough electricity to help meet the energy needs of more than 21,000 average homes.
“Southern Power’s choice of this project as the latest addition to their renewables portfolio demonstrates the value of utility-scale solar to major independent power companies,” said First Solar’s Vice President of Project Development for the Western United States Brian Kunz. “It also confirms First Solar continues to excel in our core capability of delivering reliable, high quality, bankable utility-scale assets to the market.”
Southern Power’s fifth solar acquisition in California, the North Star Solar Facility will be located on 626 acres in Fresno County and is expected to consist of approximately 750,000 of First Solar’s thin-film photovoltaic solar modules mounted on single-axis tracking tables. This is the first facility in Fresno County for Southern Power and First Solar.
Southern Power’s renewable energy portfolio of more than 1,000 MW of generating capacity ownership – either already in operation or under development – was assembled through the strategic development of 15 solar, wind and biomass projects across the United States, including five California solar projects. The Southern Company system has added or announced more than 3,100 MW of renewable projects since January 2012.
The electricity and associated renewable energy credits generated by the facility will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Headquartered in San Francisco, PG&E provides energy to approximately 16 million people in Northern and Central California.
The North Star Solar Facility 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.
About Southern Power
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 or have the right to own 24 facilities operating or under construction in nine states with more than 9,400 MW of generating capacity in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) 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. www.firstsolar.com
About Southern Company
With more than 4.5 million customers and approximately 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast through its subsidiaries. A leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for energy innovation, excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company and its subsidiaries are leading the nation’s nuclear renaissance through the construction of the first new nuclear units to be built in a generation of Americans and are demonstrating their commitment to energy innovation through the development of a state-of-the-art coal gasification plant. Southern Company has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, listed by DiversityInc as a top company for Blacks and designated a 2014 Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company received the Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute for its leadership in new nuclear development, was named Electric Light & Power magazine’s Utility of the Year for 2012 and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune’s annual World’s Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.
Cautionary Notes Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements, among other things, concerning: our business strategy, including anticipated trends and developments in and management plans for our business and the markets in which we operate; future financial results, operating results, revenues, gross margin, operating expenses, products, projected costs, warranties, solar module efficiency and balance of systems (BoS) cost reduction roadmaps, restructuring, product reliability and capital expenditures; our ability to continue to reduce the cost per watt of our solar modules; our ability to reduce the costs to construct photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems; research and development programs and our ability to improve the conversion efficiency of our solar modules; sales and marketing initiatives; and competition. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed in Item 1A: “Risk Factors,” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other reports filed with the SEC.
Southern Company and Southern Power
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the completion of construction and subsequent operation of the North Star Solar Facility and the future generating capacity of Southern Power and its subsidiaries’ facilities. Southern Company and Southern Power caution that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company and Southern Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in each of Southern Company’s and Southern Power’s Annual Reports on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of generating facilities, to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses, and to satisfy any operational and environmental performance standards, including the requirements of tax credits and other incentives; and potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Southern Company or Southern Power. Southern Company and Southern Power expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking information.
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