Construction of a 250 mega-watt solar facility, a joint project between, First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), NextEra Energy Inc (NYSE:NEE), and Southern California Edison Co. (NYSEMKT:SCE-E), has begun in the desert about 40 miles south of the lights of Las Vegas. At 250 MW, this will be the fourth-largest solar power plant in the world upon completion. Presently, the “Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System” in the Mojave Desert is the largest with an output of 392 MWs, California is also home to another plant that is capable of producing 354 MWs.
The location was chosen for a number of reasons but its proximity to a transportation hub was deemed necessary to the project. It’s also located near standard utilities and when completed it will be easy to begin supplying the grid. By itself, 250 MWs can handle the power needs of roughly 80,000 homes in the area.
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“Renewable energy sources such as solar power play an important role in the future energy mix in this country,” stated Armando Pimentel, president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Inc (NYSE:NEE). “We look forward to working with First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) and Southern California Edison to make this project a reality.”
Washington was also on hand with Nevada’s own on hand to join in the groundbreaking.
“Coming on the eve of the Clean Energy Summit, the timing of the Silver State South groundbreaking couldn’t be more perfect,” noted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “This project proves again that solar energy is the wave of the future. It stimulates economic growth, creates jobs, and replaces fossil-fueled energy with clean solar power.”
First Solar loves Nevada
This is not First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR)’s first foray into the Southern Nevada desert. This will be the company’s fifth plant in Nevada and when they are all finished they will produce over 750 MWs.
“First Solar is excited to celebrate this important milestone, and honored to continue to work with NextEra Energy Resources and Southern California Edison,” said Jim Hughes, chief executive officer of First Solar.
“By working together, we will provide jobs and significant economic benefits to Clark County as well as helping SCE deliver clean renewable energy to its customers.”
Solar energy employs over 100,000 people in the United States and has averaged a 65% compound growth rate over the last five years and that is expected to continue given the right policies.