Southern Co., Turner Renewable buy Macho Springs solar power project

The Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership's seventh solar project and its second-largest overall, the facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 18,000 homes

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Southern Co. unit Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy acquired of the 50 MW Macho Springs Solar Facility.

The Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership's seventh solar project and its second-largest overall, the facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 18,000 homes. Financial terms to the deal were not disclosed.

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The Macho Springs Solar Facility was built and will be operated and maintained by First Solar, a provider of photovoltaic solar systems using thin-film modules. Electricity generated by the facility will serve a 20-year purchase power agreement with El Paso Electric.

The power plant, located on about 600 acres of State Trust land near Deming, New Mexico, is the state’s largest solar power plant and will generate enough clean energy to power nearly 18,000 homes in El Paso Electric’s service territory. First Solar developed and constructed the project, working closely with the New Mexico State Land Office and El Paso Electric. The plant will operate on a commercial lease from the State Land Office.

Macho Springs is the third project Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy have acquired from First Solar.

Ted Turner, owner of Turner Renewable Energy, teamed with Southern Company through a subsidiary in January 2010 to form a strategic alliance to pursue development of renewable energy projects in the U.S. The partnership has primarily focused on developing and investing in large-scale solar PV projects in the Southwest, where solar resources are most available. The Macho Springs Solar Facility brings the partnership's overall solar capacity to more than 290 MW.

Construction of the plant began in July 2013 and commercial operation is targeted for this week. The Macho Springs Solar Facility is located on an nearly 600-acre site in Luna County, N.M.

The acquisition fits Southern Power's business strategy of growing the wholesale business in targeted markets through acquiring generating assets and building new units, the output of which is significantly covered by long-term contracts.

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