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First Solar Building Largest Photovoltaic Plant in U.S…Maybe

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Nevada is a veritable gold mine of solar energy, so it’s not surprising to hear that photovoltaic company First Solar is teaming up with Sempra Generation to build the largest solar photovoltaic plant in the U.S. in Boulder City, Nevada, about 40 miles south of Las Vegas. The 48-megawatt plant will be an extension of an already existing 10-megawatt Sempra Generation plant and will provide enough power for 30,000 homes–assuming some of the power doesn’t go towards Las Vegas billboards.

First Solar acknowledges that there are other, larger solar projects in development, but says that they use different technologies. While other plants use heated water to generate power, the Boulder City plant, scheduled to be completed next year, will use almost one million PV panels.

The Boulder City plant might not get to keep its title of largest PV plant in the U.S. for long. If Florida Power & Light’s 75-megawatt Babcock Ranch PV project is built, it will easily trump Nevada’s efforts. And since Sempra Generation hasn’t yet signed a power-purchase agreement with a utility yet, the whole project is still up in the air.

Regardless of the outcome, First Solar has plenty of other tricks up its sleeve. The company has rights to 136,000 acres of land capable of producing up to 19 gigawatts of new projects.

[Via AP]AS