Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy Buy New Mexico’s Largest Solar Power Plant from First Solar

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First Solar sells New Mexico’s largest solar PV power plant to Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. The 50 MW AC Macho Springs Solar Power Plant, which First Solar will operate and maintain, will generate enough power for about 18,000 homes in El Paso Electric’s service territory.

New Mexico’s largest solar PV power plant has changed hands. Solar provider First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) has sold the 50 MW AC Macho Springs Solar Power Plant to Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

First Solar built the facility and will operate and maintain it. Electricity generated by the facility will serve a 20-year purchase power agreement with El Paso Electric (EPE). The plant will operate on a commercial lease from the State Land Office, on approximately 600 acres near Deming, New Mexico.

Construction of the plant began in July 2013, and commercial operation is targeted for this week.

The power plant, the Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership’s seventh solar project and its second-largest, is expected to generate enough clean energy to power approximately 18,000 homes in El Paso Electric’s service territory.

The project will displace more than 40,000 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 7,500 cars off the road, and will displace more than 340,000 metric tons of water consumption annually in southern New Mexico and west Texas.

Macho Springs is the third project Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy have acquired from First Solar. In April 2013, the partnership purchased the 139 MW Campo Verde Solar Facility in Imperial County, California, and in 2010 the group bought the 30 MW Cimarron Solar Project adjacent to Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch in northern New Mexico.

Southern Company says that in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy, it has created one of the nation’s largest solar portfolios. 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 United States.

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.