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Alabama Power receives approval for Mercedes-Benz solar project in Lowndes County 

Alabama Power and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. (MBUSI) received approval today from the Alabama Public Service Commission for the proposed 80-megawatt Letohatchee Solar Project in Lowndes County.

This project and the renewable contract between Alabama Power and MBUSI build on a long-standing partnership between the two companies and align with the shared vision of enhancing the use of renewable energy.

Alabama Power receives approval for solar project in Lowndes County from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Under the 15-year contract, MBUSI will receive all the renewable energy credits (RECs) from the facility, which will cover a significant portion of the electric needs for its Vance and Bibb County campuses. Alabama Power will receive the entire electric output from the project pursuant to a 15-year power purchase agreement.

The Letohatchee Solar Project is expected to create about 300 construction jobs while generating more than $9 million in tax revenues for Lowndes County over the life of the project. Commercial operation is expected to begin in March 2024.

MBUSI CEO Michael Goebel, left, and Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite discuss a new solar project to support the automaker’s renewable energy goals. (Phil Free / Alabama NewsCenter)

“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.”

Mercedes-Benz Cars first announced its holistic approach to climate protection under the sustainable mobility strategy known as “Ambition 2039” – setting goals that cover all stages of the automotive value chain – from technical development, to the extraction of raw materials, to production, service life and recycling.

“MBUSI’s commitment to the Letohatchee Solar Project is an important action in realizing this strategy for the 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.”

Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite, left, and MBUSI CEO Michael Goebel discuss a new solar project to support the automaker’s renewable energy goals. (Phil Free / Alabama NewsCenter)

As a globally operating vehicle manufacturer, MBUSI puts significant focus on improving the environmental soundness of its products and business activities. From energy efficiency and waste avoidance to water consumption and air emissions, more than a dozen environmentally relevant parameters are measured monthly and compared with the facility’s aggressive targets. MBUSI will continue to pursue local opportunities and innovations to achieve its goals and ensure long-term success in the region.

The Letohatchee Solar Project builds on the growth of utility-scale solar power in Alabama under the Renewable Generation Certificate program approved by the PSC and reauthorized this year. Earlier this year, the commission approved the 80-megawatt HEP Greenville Solar Project in Butler County in which Wells Fargo Bank is participating. Solar facilities at the Anniston Army Depot, Fort Rucker and in LaFayette all reached commercial operation in 2017. To date, the commission has approved about 250 megawatts of solar generation under this certificate.