Southern Company (No. 44 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) subsidiary Southern Power has announced the acquisition of its newest renewable asset, the 20-megawatt (MW) Gaskell West 1 Solar Facility in Kern County, Calif. This project aligns with Southern Power's business strategy of acquiring and developing projects covered by long-term contracts with counterparties with strong credit support.
"We are pleased to start the quarter with continued growth in our renewable portfolio," said Southern Power President and CEO Buzz Miller. "Gaskell West 1 is an excellent fit for Southern Power's evolving business as we strive to meet market demands through our commitment to develop clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy resources for the benefit of our customers."
Construction of the approximately 280-acre project began in October 2017, and the facility is expected to begin commercial operation in March 2018. Southern California Edison will purchase the electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility under a 20-year power purchase agreement and will have the option to keep or sell the associated RECs.
Southern Power purchased the facility from Recurrent Energy, which is developing the project. D.H. Blattner & Sons, Inc. is performing the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, and First Solar Energy Services will operate and maintain the facility upon completion. Southern Power plans to use third-party tax equity as part of the funding of the transaction.
The announcement marks Southern Power's fifth solar facility within the county and 12th solar facility within the state.
With the addition of Gaskell West 1, Southern Power owns more than 3,500 MW of renewable generation from 38 solar, wind and biomass facilities either announced, acquired or under construction from California to Maine. In total, the Southern Company system has added or announced more than 6,500 MW of renewable generation since 2012.