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Major New AZ Solar Power Facility to Create 300 Construction Jobs

Yesterday The U.S. Department of Energy has offered San Diego-based Sempra Energy (parent company of Sempra Generation) a $359.1 million conditional loan guarantee to support the development of a new photovoltaic solar project. One of the company' subsidiaries--Sempra Generation-- is developing the facility, located about 40 miles west of Phoenix, AZ.

Sempra Energy is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2010 revenues of $9 billion. Its nearly 16,000 employees employed by numerous subsidiary companies serve about 25 million consumers worldwide. Sempra Generation, one such subsidiary, operates a fleet of natural gas-fueled power plants and is a leading developer of solar and wind facilities serving U.S. markets.

Construction work begins this month, and at its peak, is expected to create over 300 jobs. When completed in early 2013, the facility will produce enough electricity to power about 56,000 average homes. It will draw from the more than 300 days of intense sunshine each year in Arizona to generate up to 600 (MW) of solar power.

The Energy Dept.'s loan is tied to the first phase of construction, which will allow the facility to produce up to 150 MW of solar energy. (Recently the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a Pacific Gas & Electric 20-year contract to purchase those 150 MW.)

Eventually the Mesquite Solar 1 plant will have the build-out potential to produce 700 MW of solar energy, said a company spokesman.

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