Building began in 2018, and the project employed over 400 workers at peak construction. In its first 10 years of operation alone, Southern Oak will generate more than $12 million in local economic development through agreements for tax payments and lease payments to participating landowners, as well as wages and benefits for employees.
“The start of commercial operations at Southern Oak is an incredible achievement for Invenergy as we celebrate not only our largest solar project, but also our 100th project to come online,” said Bryan Schueler, Invenergy’s executive vice president and chief development officer. "We are proud to have delivered on our promise to invest in the local economy and create jobs while leveraging our expertise to support Georgia Power in its efforts to increase solar development in Georgia.”
Southern Oak is Invenergy’s second project to deploy bifacial solar panels. Invenergy developed and constructed the 74-MW Wilkinson solar project in North Carolina, which began commercial operations near the end of 2019 and was the company’s first project to use bifacial solar panels. The cutting-edge technology increases efficiency by capturing additional sunlight within the same project footprint.
Renewable Energy Systems (RES), a global company that provides engineering and construction services for wind, solar, transmission and energy storage projects, constructed the project.
“Southern Oak marks RES’ first solar project with Invenergy, serving as a tremendous opportunity to partner in advancing the growth of solar power in Georgia and creating more skilled employment in Mitchell County,” said Tim Jordan, senior vice president of construction at RES. “This project demonstrates another step change in the advancement of utility-scale solar plant efficiency, and we are very proud to have played a key role.”
Invenergy Services is operating the solar facility, adding to its 10-GW global sustainable energy project portfolio. Invenergy will maintain ownership of Southern Oak and is under a 30-year contract to sell 100% of the energy and renewable attributes from the facility to Georgia Power through the Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI) program.