Alabama Power continues going green with new solar facility

Layfayette solar
The new solar fields in Chambers County were a collaborative enterprise that will benefit Alabama Power customers and retail giant Walmart. [Photo Credit: Phil Free| Alabama NewsCenter]

In two weeks, Alabama Power will join in a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the successful launch of its new solar facility, which has been operational for past two months.

Last year, the company continued to add renewables to its energy portfolio when they joined forces with Centaurus Renewable Energy and entered a long-term power purchase agreement to secure the rights to all the energy and environmental attributes that the new facility near LaFayette, Ala. generates.

Dubbed “Alabama Solar A,” the 72-megawatt — which is the energy equivalent to what is typically needed to power roughly 18,000 homes —  facility will generate around 190,000 megawatt hours annually, according to one of the facility developers Michael Gallego, Vice President of Operations for Clēnera.

Alabama Solar A adds to Alabama Power’s growing renewables portfolio, which already includes two additional solar arrays at Ft. Rucker and the Anniston Army Depot.

Panels at Ft. Rucker can convert the sunlight into 10 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1,600 homes. Meanwhile, at the Anniston Army Depot 87,000 solar panels and a seven-megawatt plant, which translates into enough power for 1,100 homes.

The company also relies on hydroelectric power, another renewable resource. With 14 hydro facilities on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black Warrior rivers, these plants provide about six percent of the company’s power generation.

This March, through the Renew Our Rivers campaign, the company will continue to steward the state’s waterways well as they partner with individuals and organizations across the state on cleanups and other events focusing on environmental stewardship, education and conservation. Since the program’s inception in 2000, about 75,000 volunteers have collected over 14 million pounds of trash and debris.

In addition to what it’s doing in the Yellowhammer state, Alabama Power is a leading purchaser among Southeast utilities of energy from out-of-state wind farms. The company has agreements with Chisholm View Wind Project in Oklahoma and Buffalo Dunes Wind Project in Kansas for enough energy to power more than 100,000 homes. Under both 20-year contracts, Alabama Power has the flexibility to use generated wind energy to serve customers and retire the associated renewable energy credits (RECs) or sell the energy and RECs to others, either separately or bundled together.