Above: AH-64 Apaches prepare to fly a training mission at Fort Rucker (Contributed).
Alabama Power has received approval from the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) to move forward on developing and operating two solar generation projects, one at the Anniston Army Depot and one at Fort Rucker.
Groundbreakings on the photovoltaic solar panel projects are expected to take place next spring. The projects are slated to be operating before the end of 2016.
The two projects, which will be owned by Alabama Power, are expected to produce a combined 20 megawatts. That’s roughly the amount of energy needed for 4,200 homes.
He said the projects provide benefits to all Alabama Power customers due, in large part, to the company securing long-term power contracts with the military installations. The two facilities will continue to purchase electricity from Alabama Power under separate and existing electric service contracts.
“Fort Rucker and the Anniston Army Depot are not only important customers for Alabama Power. They are important to Alabama and to Alabama’s economy,” Smoke said. “These project help support the military’s goals while also providing benefits for all our customers.”
The energy generated by the projects will flow back into the Alabama Power grid as part of the company’s generation portfolio. Alabama Power plans to retain the rights to the energy and the renewable energy credits from the projects to serve its customers, including the Army, with renewable energy, or to sell to third parties for the benefit of all customers.
The two projects are the first to be approved by the PSC under a new program that gives Alabama Power the flexibility to secure up to 500 megawatts of renewable generation over the next six years. The PSC voted in favor of the company’s renewables program in September.
Through the new renewables program, Alabama Power can work directly with customers who are interested in renewable energy to meet their needs, while protecting Alabama Power’s broader customer base from any additional costs related to renewables.