Southern Company (NYSE: SO ) announced today that it is spreading solar energy to the U.S. armed forces bases. The utility announced plans today to build, own, and operate three solar farms on Georgia army bases.
According to the company, each plant will be capable of generating approximately 30 MW of solar energy, making them the largest solar farms on any U.S. base. They will be located at Fort Stewart near Savannah, Fort Benning near Columbus, and Fort Gordon near Augusta.
"Through constructive regulation and thoughtful energy policy planning, Georgia is leading the way in developing cost-effective solar generation for customers," said Norrie McKenzie, vice president of renewable development for Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, in the press release. "The agreement with the U.S. Army not only marks another step for Georgia Power's solar initiatives, but further enhances the state's position as a solar leader and will strengthen both the bases and the surrounding communities."
Georgia regulators have already approved the plants, and Southern Company estimates the farms to be fully operational by 2017.
The projects are all expected to be completed at an equal or lesser cost than generating the same electricity from other fuel sources. Georgia Power is investing heavily in solar, and expects its solar capacity to clock in at nearly 900 MW by 2016, the "largest voluntary solar portfolio" in the U.S. according to the press release. Voluntary means the utility is not building the plants simply to meet a mandated energy standard.