Nevada Becomes Home to US’s Largest PV Solar Plant

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The United States’ largest solar PV power plant has been completed in Boulder City, Nevada. The plant will provide enough power for 14,000 homes through an array of 775,000 thin-film photovoltaic solar panels.

Called Copper Mountain Solar, the 380 acre, 48MW facility belongs to Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy. The company said it has plans to develop more than 1,000MW of solar projects in California, Arizona and Nevada and it has partnered with BP Wind Energy in the development of a 250-MW project in Colorado, currently under construction.

The construction of Copper Mountain Solar was fast. It started in January 2010 and employed 350 construction workers at peak. First Solar, from Tempe, Arizona, supplied the solar panels and served as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

“Safely completing construction on a solar power facility of this magnitude in less than a year is an unprecedented achievement,” said William R. Engelbrecht, Sempra Generation’s vice president of planning and construction.

The power from Copper Mountain Solar and Sempra Generation’s adjacent 10-MW El Dorado Solar plant has been sold to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) under separate 20-year contracts. California is in a rush to green up its energy matrix as utilities there are required to procure 20 percent of their energy supply from alternative sources by the end of 2010. That figure will increase to 33 percent by 2020.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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