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ATLANTA, Sept. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Marking a major milestone in the strategic expansion of one of the nation's leading renewable generation portfolios, Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power today announced the acquisition of a controlling interest in the company's largest solar asset - the 300-megawatt (MW) Desert Stateline Facility in California - from First Solar Inc., which will retain the remaining interest in the project. This project represents Southern Power's and First Solar's fourth shared acquisition.

"The acquisition of our system's largest solar facility builds on our proven reputation as a national renewable energy leader, " said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO

Thomas A. Fanning. "By continuing to leverage Southern Company's and First Solar's complementary strengths, we are accelerating the development of solar as an important component of a diverse fuel mix now and in the future."

Southern Power's seventh solar acquisition in California, the Desert Stateline Facility, will be located on 1, 685 acres of federally managed public land in San Bernardino County and is expected to consist of approximately 3.2 million of First Solar's thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules mounted on fixed-tilt tables. Once operational, the Desert Stateline Facility is expected to be capable of generating enough electricity to help meet the energy needs of nearly 100, 000 average homes.

"Desert Stateline is an exciting addition to the series of projects on which we've partnered with Southern Power. Our strategic relationship capitalizes on each company's core competencies, as well as the synergies obtainable though informed, enlightened collaboration, " said First Solar CEO

Jim Hughes. "We are actively discussing ways to continue and broaden this relationship. This facility and other similar facilities allow leading energy companies to place First Solar's advanced thin film PV technology at the heart of utility scale generation facilities, enabling power providers to include competitive, reliable renewable energy in their portfolios."

First Solar is building and will operate and maintain the Desert Stateline Facility. Construction of the plant began in and is expected to be completed in phases. The plant is slated to be fully operational in the third quarter of 2016.

The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison Company.

Southern Power assembled its renewable portfolio - now totaling more than 1, 450 MW of generating capacity ownership either already in operation or under development - through the strategic development of 20 solar, wind and biomass projects across the United States. The Southern Company system has added or announced more than 3, 300 MW of renewable projects since 2012.

The Desert Stateline Facility fits Southern Power's business strategy of growing its wholesale business through the acquisition and construction of generating assets substantially covered by long-term contracts.

About Southern Power

Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider meeting the electricity needs of municipalities, electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities. Southern Power and its subsidiaries own or have the rights to 29 facilities operating or under construction in nine states with more than 10, 000 MW of generating capacity in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. www.firstsolar.com

About Southern Company

With more than 4.5 million customers and approximately 46, 000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast through its subsidiaries. A leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices that are below the national average. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are inventing America's energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, and creating new products and services for the benefit of customers. Southern Company has been named by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity and designated a 2014 Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company earned the 2014 National Award of Nuclear Science and History from the National Atomic Museum Foundation for its leadership and commitment to nuclear development, and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.

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