LAFAYETTE, Ala. — A $140 million solar power facility in eastern Alabama is on track for operation in December.

A tour was held this week of the 72-megawatt facility that sits on 1,100 acres in Lafayette, Alabama, The Opelika-Auburn News reported. The facility will have 338,000 solar panels that will generate around 190,000 megawatts hours annually, said Michael Gallego, vice president of operations for Clenera, one of the facility developers.

“We are committed to providing clean energy at the lowest possible cost,” Gallego said. “By doing so, we will continue to add quality jobs to local economies and truly make a difference by reducing our carbon footprint.”

The facility is about 40 percent complete after starting construction in February. It’s expected to create nearly 350 jobs during the project.

“It represents a significant land acquisition of private investments for improvements of over $125 million by Centaurus and Global Atlantic,” Gallego said. “Clenera under a long-term relationship with both ownership parties has provided developmental services and oversees construction management of the project. Swinerton Renewable Energy was hired as the engineering and construction contractor and will partner with Clenera for the long term asset management operations of the plant.”

Alabama Power entered into a long-term power purchase agreement with Centaurus Renewable Energy to secure the rights to all the energy and environmental attributes, also known as Renewable Energy Certificates, the facility generates.

The utility company said Walmart will receive the majority of certificates from the facility.

Centaurus is the primary investor and Global Atlantic is the owner of the facility.

Luigi Soper, project engineer at Swinerton Renewable Energy, said the project will have a lasting impact in the area.

“What we will leave behind will not merely be solar panels and steel, but a sense of pride and accomplishment as we complete this solar facility that will continue to provide the state of Alabama with low cost energy for the next 25 plus years,” Soper said


Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, http://www.oanow.com/