In December, Alabama Power Company announced it had teamed with Mercedes Benz U.S. International to build a new solar energy facility in Lowndes County, AL. The 80 MW facility will be the fourth addition to the utility’s Renewable Generation Certificate program aimed at increasing renewable energy in the state.
The two companies have entered into a 15-year contract that gives the automaker all renewable energy credits (RECs) from the facility, covering a significant portion of the electric needs for its Vance and Bibb County campuses. For its part, Alabama Power will receive the entire electric output from the project. Lowndes County is projected to be online by March 2024.
“As we ramp up battery production and electric vehicle production in Alabama in 2022, MBUSI is seen as a critical location for the Mercedes-Benz shift toward an emissions-free and software-driven future,” said Michael Goebel, president, and CEO of MBUSI.
Alabama Power President and CEO Mark Crosswhite said “…We’re committed to providing innovative energy solutions for our customers and supporting growth of Alabama communities…This agreement builds on our partnership with Mercedes and will help us deliver long-term value to our customers while increasing emissions-free resources.”
The project, called the Letohatchee Solar Project, will create about 300 construction jobs and generate about $9 million in tax revenue. The project is great news for Alabama as a whole, particularly for Lowndes County, located in one of the most impoverished regions in the state.
The Letohatchee Solar Project is the latest such project sponsored by Alabama Power. In July of last year, the company announced it had teamed up with Well Fargo to build a solar facility in Butler County, AL. The Butler County facility will create 250 construction jobs while generating more than $6 million in tax revenue for Butler County and the City of Greenville over the life of the project. Operation will begin by January 2024.
As we’ve written before, utility-scale solar is a renewable energy option that makes sense for consumers. While rooftop solar is out of reach for many low to middle-income families, utility projects can bring the power of the sun to all consumers, regardless of income. In addition, studies find that large-scale solar projects can be built at both half the cost and half the emissions of rooftop solar. That’s a win for consumers and the environment.
The benefits of utility-scale solar energy are simply too great to ignore. We applaud Alabama’s commitment to advancing renewable energy while keeping prices affordable for consumers.