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Southern, Ted Turner Buy Second Southwest U.S. Solar-Power Plant

Southern Co., the largest U.S. power company by market value, bought its second solar energy project in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy.

The companies, which have been collaborating on renewable energy investments since January 2010, purchased the 20-megawatt Apex project in North Las Vegas, Nevada, from SunEdison LLC, Southern said today in a statement. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

Turner Renewable Energy is a unit of Turner Enterprises Inc., a closely held company based in Atlanta that manages the investments and land holdings of Ted Turner, including more than 2 million acres in the U.S. and Argentina.

The acquisition is Southern’s second investment in solar power and follows other deals the company has made related to biomass power generation and carbon-capture and storage. The company, which owns utilities in four states and serves 4.4 million customers, is building a 100-megawatt biomass power plant in Texas.

The project is the second to be acquired by Southern and Turner Renewable Energy, after the companies in March 2010 bought the 30-megawatt Cimarron project that First Solar Inc. built on land adjacent to Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch near Raton, New Mexico.

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc.’s SunEdison began building the plant in October, and utility NV Energy Inc. will buy its output for 25 years starting in the third quarter.

Apex will consist of 88,000 poly-crystalline solar panels provided by Chinese manufacturer Trina Solar Ltd., Southern, based in Atlanta, said in the statement.

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