Solar farm approved for Lowndes County

Alabama Power, Mercedes-Benz team on 80-megawatt project

From left: Michael Goebel, president and CEO of MBUSI, and Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite visit a solar array.
From left: Michael Goebel, president and CEO of MBUSI, and Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite visit a solar array.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International and Alabama Power have received Alabama Public Service Commission approval for an 80-megawatt solar project in Lowndes County, near Montgomery.

MBUSI will receive renewable energy credits for the Letohatchee Solar Project, and Alabama Power will receive the electric output, under terms of the 15-year contract.

Commercial operation of the project should begin in March 2024, the two companies anticipate.

The project is part of Mercedes-Benz Cars’ Ambition 2039 project, seeking to develop more sustainable operations in technical development, extraction of raw materials, production, service life and recycling.

“MBUSI’s commitment to the Letohatchee Solar Project is an important action in realizing this strategy for their Vance and Bibb campuses’ electric supply,” said Michael Goebel, president and CEO of MBUSI. “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.”

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“At Alabama Power, we’re committed to providing innovative energy solutions for our customers and supporting growth of Alabama communities,” said Alabama Power President and CEO Mark Crosswhite. “This agreement builds on our partnership with Mercedes and will help us deliver long-term value to our customers while increasing emissions-free resources.”

MBUSI and Alabama Power anticipate that the project will create about 300 construction jobs, and, over the life of the project, generate more than $9 million in tax revenue for Lowndes County.

Utility-scale solar power has been growing in Alabama. The Public Service Commission approved an 80-megawatt project in Butler County earlier this year. Solar projects have been in operation since 2017 at Anniston Army Depot, Fort Rucker and in LaFayette. The PSC has so far approved some 250 megawatts of solar generation under the Renewable Generation Certificate program.

To date, MBUSI has invested some $6 billion in its Alabama operations and is investing another $1 billion in its second campus. It employs some 4,400 people.

Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company, based in Atlanta. The firm supplies electricity to 1.5 million customers in Alabama.

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