Construction begins on 250 MW First Solar Nevada PV plant

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U.S. solar company First Solar has teamed up with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to deliver 250 MW of clean solar energy to the city over the next 25 years.

In signing a 25-year power purchase agreement, LADWP will be able to provide solar PV electricity to some 93,000 Los Angeles homes per year, with First Solar subsidiary Moapa Southern Paiute Solar LLC contracted to construct and project-manage the solar plant for the duration of the agreement.

Construction of the plant began this week and is expected to be completed and fully operational by the end of 2015. The plant will be fitted with First Solar’s advanced PV thin-film modules and cover 2,000 acres of land on the Moapa River Indian Reservation just north of Las Vegas.

As well as mitigating the effects of 313,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the project will generate an estimated 400 new construction jobs, boost economic growth for the local Indian Moapa Band Pauites tribe, and contribute 2.4% towards LADWP’s renewable energy portfolio.

"Breaking ground on this project marks a very important milestone for Nevada, the Moapa Band of Paiutes, and tribal nations throughout the country," said U.S. Senate Majority Leader for Nevada, Harry Reid. "The Moapa Southern Pauite Solar project is the first utility-scale solar project on tribal land and will deliver much-needed economic benefits to the Tribe and Nevada."

LADWP has pledged to reduce its energy use by 10% via the adoption of renewable energy over the next few years, and the department’s general manager, Marcie L. Edwards said that this solar project is a "significant step" towards LADWP’s effort to achieve a "major transformation of the city’s power supply – one that has greater reliance on renewable energy resources and zero coal power."

The site will include a 9 km 500 kV transmission line that will connect the project to the existing Crystal Substation in California.

"First Solar is thrilled to celebrate this important milestone with Senator Reid and distinguished guests, and honored to work with the Moapa Band of Paiutes on this landmark project," added First Solar CEO Jim Hughes.