Alabama Power approved for first major military solar projects

Installation of solar arrays at two Alabama military bases will represent Alabama Power’s first official utility-scale solar projects. (© iStock)

The Alabama Public Service Commission has given Alabama Power the green light to move forward with two large-scale military solar projects at the Anniston Army Depot and Fort Rucker, the first projects announced under the utility’s plan to develop 500 MW of renewable energy capacity.

The Army base projects are expected to produce about 10 megawatts each, approximately enough power to service 4,200 homes.

Just this week, Alabama Power awarded North Carolina-based Strata Solar the contracts to build both projects. Construction is slated to begin in early 2016 and expected to be completed before the end of the year, allowing the projects to take advantage of the federal tax credit that expires at the end of 2016. 

The solar installations will also count towards energy policy requirements set by the Department of Defense, with the goal of having 25 percent of its energy produced by renewable sources by 2025.

While approval of these projects represents a positive step toward bringing more renewable energy online in Alabama and provides additional grid security, homeowners and businesses wanting to pursue solar and reap the environmental and economic benefits of investing in clean energy within Alabama Power service territory should have the opportunity to do so.

“We know there is significant demand for solar in Alabama, and Alabama Power can and should open meaningful access to clean energy for homeowners and businesses in their service territory,” said Keith Johnston, Managing Attorney of SELC’S Birmingham office. “Our hope is that any subsequent plans for the remaining block of renewable energy capacity will directly address that growing demand, and allow for the lower costs and local job creation we’ve seen in neighboring states.” 

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