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Southern Company (SO - Analyst Report) has co-partnered privately-held Turner Renewable Energy to take over the Spectrum Solar Project from SunEdison – a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials . However, the financial aspects of the deal were not disclosed.

Located in Nevada, the 30-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant will spread across a 311-acre site in Clark County. Construction of the Spectrum Solar Project is expected to begin from October 2012 while commercial operations at the plant will commence from the second quarter of 2013.  SunEdison will continue to oversee the facility’s ongoing operations and maintenance.

The Spectrum Solar Facility is one of the largest tracking-based installations in the United States with the highest DC capacity.  This technology ensures greater efficiency by optimally positioning the solar panels in tandem with the sun’s movement across the sky.

The electricity generated by the facility will be bought by the Nevada Power Company, a wholly owned unit of NV Energy Inc , under the terms of a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Ted Turner, who owns Turner Renewable Energy, formed a strategic collaboration with Southern Company in January 2010. The two companies were interested in pursuing renewable energy projects in the United States.

In this regard, in June 2012, the companies acquired the 20-megawatt Apex Solar Facility located in the City of North Las Vegas, Clark County. It started commercial operations in third quarter of 2012.

Southern Company is one of the largest electric utility holding companies in the U.S., and is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. It remains a leader in power plant productivity, cost control (operating and construction) and new technology research.

However, the challenging economic environment and increased spending levels to ensure regulatory compliance may hamper the company’s results in the next few quarters.

Currently, Southern Company holds a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating). We also maintain a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.


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