Atlanta—Georgia Power recently acquired a series of solar projects of up to 1 megawatt (MW) in Murray County, Ga., co-developed by United Renewable Energy and Mack Creek Energy. Georgia Power will sell the output from the facility to Dalton Utilities.
The plant will be constructed on Looper Bridge Road in Dalton by United Renewable Energy and will be owned and operated by Georgia Power.
Under the terms of the deal, Georgia Power will lease property for the solar facility from Dalton Utilities, which will purchase 100% of the plant’s capacity and energy through a 25-year power purchase agreement.
“This is a major initiative in expanding green energy in the State of Georgia,” said Don Cope, Dalton Utilities President and CEO. “Upon completion of this project, Dalton Utilities and its corporate customers will be able to advertise the fact that we are utilizing ‘green’ energy which has become increasingly important in today’s market. This is one of several sustainable and renewable green initiatives Dalton Utilities is in the process of developing.”
Energy produced from the solar facility will be sold on the wholesale market so the cost of the facility will not become part of Georgia Power’s retail rate base. All renewable energy credits from the facility will be conveyed to Dalton Utilities. The first phase of the facility is expected to begin commercial operations in spring 2011.
“This contract marks the first time Georgia Power has acquired a solar energy production facility to serve the wholesale market,” said Jeff Burleson, Georgia Power’s director of Resource Policy and Planning. “Not only will it increase the amount of solar resources in the state, but it also strengthens our partnership with Dalton Utilities, a fellow co-owner of the two new nuclear units under construction at Plant Vogtle.”
The facility will be developed in phases with each phase comprising approximately 350 kW. Georgia Power has the option to construct two additional 350 kW phases for a total of 1 MW by January 2014. One megawatt is enough energy to supply a Super Target or approximately 400 Georgia residences.
“As a solar EPC company headquartered in Georgia,” said William Silva, President of United Renewable Energy, “we applaud Dalton Utilities’ vision, and Georgia Power’s support of solar energy in the state.” Over 100 solar jobs were created in the state of Georgia last year.
With the addition of this contract, Georgia Power’s energy portfolio includes contracts with 14 qualified biomass and renewable facilities throughout the state that generate 28 MW of capacity, or enough renewable energy to power more than 11,200 homes. These contracts include electricity generated from wood waste, landfill methane gas, and water.
Dalton Utilities provides potable water, electric, natural gas, wastewater, stormwater and telecommunications services to approximately 77,000 customers in Dalton and five surrounding counties. Dalton Utilities is engaged in various sustainable and green energy projects including the use of treated wastewater to cool a merchant power plant, creating biodiesel from its wastewater stream, the composting of biosolids and the reuse of carpet waste to generate electricity.
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates well below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.3 million customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties.
United Renewable Energy is a solar project developer and multistate electrical contractor specializing in solar photovoltaics. Operating throughout the east coast, United Renewable Energy designs, procures, finances and installs high quality turnkey utility and commercial solar projects.
Mack Creek Energy develops innovative, lowest-cost renewable power projects, with a focus on utility customers that have large fleets of baseload coal generation, such as Georgia Power Company.