Southern Group buys 103 MW solar project in Georgia, US

Southern Power, a subsidiary of U.S. wholesale energy provider Southern Company (Southern Group), has snapped up a 103 MW solar PV project in the state of Georgia, in turn bolstering its growing renewable energy footprint.

The 103 MW Butler solar facility was initially developed by Community Energy Inc., and was chosen by Georgia Power – another Southern Company subsidiary – via a competitive process through the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative.

Due for completion and commercial operation at the end of 2016, the 1,070 acre site in Taylor County, Georgia, will boost Southern Power’s clean energy portfolio, which currently stands at more than 1.1 GW of renewable energy projects, including 16 solar, wind and biomass projects.

Construction of the Butler solar farm is slated to begin in September, using more than one million thin film PV modules from First Solar. The panels will be mounted on single-axis tracking tables in order to further maximize yield.

All power and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the Butler solar farm will be sold under a 30-year PPA to Georgia Power, which will have the option to retain or sell on the RECs.

"The Butler solar facility builds on Southern Company’s innovative approach to diversifying our nation’s energy mix," said Thomas A. Fanning, Southern Company chairman, president and CEO. "Our strategic development of solar in Georgia continues our company’s expansion of renewable energy generation in the Southeast."

Georgia Power recently announced that it had begun work on three 30 MW PV projects at army bases throughout the state, which will go some way towards augmenting the state’s solar footprint. Currently, according to the U.S. Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), Georgia has just 108 MW of installed solar capacity, but is considered an "emerging market" with vast potential for greater large-scale PV development, SEPA says.