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Southern Company (SO - Analyst Report) announced that its ancillary Southern Power has teamed up with partner Turner Renewable Energy to acquire a 2.5-megawatt (MW) solar installation plant in North Carolina – the Granville Solar Facility. However, the financial aspect of the transaction remains undisclosed.

Spanning across a 40-acre land in Granville County, the solar facility will be constructed, maintained and operated by global solar energy service provider – SunEdison, which is also an affiliate of MEMC Electronic Materials . The output from the plant will be utilized to serve the power purchase agreement with Progress Energy Carolinas.

The companies have started developing the plant, which is expected to commence commercial operation by the end of this month.

While this is Southern Company’s first acquisition of a solar installation unit; the company, in collaboration with Turner Renewable Energy, has already purchased three other solar projects.

Ted Turner, who owns Turner Renewable Energy, formed a strategic collaboration with Southern Company in January 2010. The two companies joined forces to pursue projects for the development of renewable sources of energy in the United States.

In this regard, in March 2010, the companies acquired a 30-megawatt Cimarron Solar Facility on an acreage adjoining Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch near Raton, New Mexico. The partnership had also purchased two Clark County, Neveda, located projects – 20-MW Apex Solar Facility and the 30-MW Spectrum Solar Facility.

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.

Southern Company will release its third-quarter 2012 results on October 31, Wednesday, before the opening bell. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in the third quarter is $1.44 per share on revenue of $6,086 million.

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

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