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Southern Company Unit's Solar Facility Begins Operations

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Southern Power, a subsidiary of electric utility holding firm Southern Company (SO - Free Report) and Recurrent Energy, a unit of Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ - Free Report) , recently issued a joint statement to announce that their 200-megawatt (MW) Tranquility Solar Facility in central California has come online. Southern Company owns 51% stake in the project via its subsidiary. Canadian Solar, on the other hand, holds the remaining 49%.

Tranquility Solar Facility, which has been built on 1,900 acres of retired agricultural land in Fresno County, southeast of San Francisco, is expected to provide electricity to around 50,000 homes. Construction works on the facility started in mid-2015. This facility is expected to help Southern Power expand its solar energy portfolio and meet the ever increasing energy demand of customers. Moreover, the facility is operating under a 15-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison under which the electricity and associated renewable energy credits generated by the facility will be sold.

The facility is in line with Southern Power's strategy of growing its wholesale business through acquisition and construction of power generating assets that are covered by long-term contracts.

Southern Power owns 31 solar, wind and biomass projects, including 11 solar projects in California. Since 2012, the parent – Southern Company – has acquired more than 4,000 MW of renewable energy projects.

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Southern Company is one of the largest and best-managed electric utility holding companies in the U.S. The firm dominates the power business across the southeastern region.

Currently, the utility carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which implies that the stock will outperform the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Some other top-ranked players in the same sector include Spark Energy, Inc. (SPKE - Free Report) and DTE Energy Company (DTE - Free Report) . While Korea Electric Power and Spark Energy sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), DTE Energy carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

In the last four quarters, DTE Energy posted an average positive earnings surprise of 6.94%.

Spark Energy, on the other hand, posted an average positive earnings surprise of 48.24% in the last four quarters.

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