A massive solar project is under construction in Nevada, and Los Angeles will get to reap its renewable-energy benefits.
The third-and largest-phase of the Copper Mountain Solar facility has begun taking shape on 1,400 acres in the Bolder City desert area. Reports peg it as the biggest solar project to use polycrystalline photovoltaic panels in the world. The 250-megawatt project already has a 20-year agreement to supply power to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the city of Burbank. Reports say the solar power generated can supply enough electricity for about 80,000 homes. While phase three is under construction, it will provide 300 jobs, according to reports, and there will be 12 permanent positions once the plant is operational. The rental fees for land for solar developments brought in about 11 percent of Boulder City's general fund, $2.5 million, in 2011, according to CNN.
Copper Mountain is run by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. The first two phases of the project were 58 megawatts and 150 megawatts, respectively. (Phase two will have 92 megawatts of solar panels installed by the end of this year, with the rest installed by 2015.) Those two phases have power-purchase agreements with Pacific Gas & Electric. Sempra also has a plant in California, the Rosamond Solar project, that it will begin building next year, plus another outside Phoenix. The first phase of that project, Mesquite Solar, is 150 megawatts and was completed last year. It has a 20-year agreement to provide power to Pacific Gas & Electric in California. When all of Mesquite Solar's phases are complete, it will have a potential capacity for 700 megawatts of solar power and will be Sempra's flagship solar plant.