Southern Power today announced the acquisition of the 60-megawatt North Star Solar Facility in central California from First Solar Inc. With the addition of this project, Southern Power now surpasses 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy development.
Southern Power will own a controlling interest in the solar project – its fifth in California – with the remainder owned by a First Solar affiliate. Construction started last July and the plant is expected to enter commercial operation in June. The facility will be operated and maintained by First Solar.
The North Star Solar Facility will be located on 626 acres in Fresno County, California, and will consist of approximately 750,000 thin-film photovoltaic solar modules, mounted on single-axis tracking tables. The plant is Southern Power’s first in Fresno County.
Electricity generated by the facility will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E). Headquartered in San Francisco, PG&E provides energy to approximately 16 million people in northern and central California. In its first year, the facility will be capable of meeting the electricity needs of more than 21,000 homes.
“Southern Power has acquired more than 1,000 megawatts 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 CEO Tom 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.”
Southern Power’s renewable energy generating capacity either in operation or under development was assembled through 15 solar, wind and biomass projects across the U.S., including the California solar facilities. The Southern Company system has added more than 3,100 megawatts of renewable projects since January 2012.