Southern Company acquires another 120 MW solar project in Texas

Today Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power announced the purchase of second large solar PV project in Texas, the East Pecos Solar Facility. First Solar is building the 120 MW project, which will incorporate 1.2 million of its cadmium telluride thin film modules mounted on single-axis trackers.

The acquisition follows on the purchase of a controlling interest in the 157 MW Roserock Solar Facility in West Texas, as announced in November. In 2010 Southern Company bought its first utility-scale solar project, the 30 MW Cimarron, and has since acquired more than a dozen large utility-scale solar projects, mostly in California and the Southwestern United States.

This includes at least five projects developed by First Solar, including the Cimarron and Macho Springs PV projects in New Mexico and the 300 MW Desert Stateline facility in California. All told, Southern Power estimates that it owns more than 1.9 GW of solar, wind and biomass projects.

The municipal utility in Austin, Texas will buy the electricity generated by the East Pecos project under a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA). This and another PPA totaling 288 MW with Hanwha Q Cells were approved by the Austin City Council last October, with prices reported at around $40 per megawatt-hour (MWh).??This made the two PPAs some of the cheapest signed, at least until pending PPA between developer Hecate Energy and the City of Palo Alto, California for under $37 per MWh was revealed in February.

Austin currently holds PPAs for 600 MW of solar projects, and an additional contract for the 30 MW Webberville plant brings the utility to 630 MW of utility-scale PV procured to date.