Ted Turner goes off-grid

Turner - biggest landowner in America
Turner – biggest landowner in America
Ted Turner’s hunting and fishing resort, Vermejo Park Ranch, has installed a new $1 million solar system that will take the lodge off the power grid.

Turner, the 239th richest man in the US with a fortune of $2bn bought the 578,000 acre ranch in New Mexico in 1996. It stretches into Colorado and reportedly is one of the largest privately owned ranches in the country.

In 2007 Turner partnered with New Jersey-based Dome Tech Solar to create DT Solar, a renewable energy company focusing on solar power.

But the solar installation at Vermejo is by 310 Solar which built the 56.2-kilowatt system. It is not known whether

The system has a battery backup and a diesel generator for backup power.

A company owned by Turner, who has long been one of the largest private landowners in New Mexico, bought the ranch near the Valle Vidal national forest from the Pennzoil Corp. in 1996.

“Given Mr. Turner’s commitment to moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, it was an honor for us to design a system to get the [ranch’s] Costilla Lodge completely off-grid,” 310 Solar president Glenn Gallipoli said in the release. “Our companies have similar missions, so together we have developed a project that is of national significance.”

In a separate announcement in April First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) said it had sold the 139-megawattAC (MW) Campo Verde Solar Project to Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. Under the terms of the agreement, First Solar will complete construction of the project and will operate and maintain the power plant for 10 years. Construction of the Campo Verde project began in December 2012 and commercial operation is expected in fall 2013.

The Campo Verde project is located on a 1,443-acre site in Imperial County, Calif. and is expected to generate enough clean electricity to power nearly 48,000 homes, displacing 80,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road. San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) will purchase the project’s output under a 20-year power purchase agreement. According to an independent study conducted for Imperial County, the Campo Verde Solar Facility will have an economic impact to the Imperial County, Calif., area totaling about $239 million over the next 30 years. It is expected to contribute $17.5 million in local tax revenue and employ an average of 250 workers during construction.
Campo Verde is the second project First Solar has designed and constructed for Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. In 2010, First Solar sold the 30 MWAC Cimarron I Solar Project, adjacent to Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch in northern New Mexico, to the partnership.
“We are pleased that Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy have once again chosen a First Solar project to add to their renewable energy portfolio,” said James F. Cook, First Solar director of Project Development. “The Campo Verde project is another state-of-the-art design which seamlessly integrates First Solar’s advanced thin-film solar modules with our leading power plant controls and grid-integration technology. By leading the project from development through engineering, construction and operations, we are able to offer the highest performance and greatest reliability.”
“Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy are continuing our successful partnership with the acquisition of First Solar’s 139-MW Campo Verde Solar Project,” said Oscar Harper, president and CEO of Southern Power. “First Solar was the developer of our partnership’s first venture — the Cimarron Solar Facility in New Mexico — and we’re pleased to expand our joint efforts through our largest solar acquisition to date.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. First Solar does not expect to recognize revenue prior to commercial operation of the plant.

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