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July 6, 2015

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Solar research facility planned for Nevada Test Site

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Steve Marcus

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, left, and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu shake after signing an agreement for a Nevada Test Site solar power development zone during a news conference at UNLV’s Greenspun Hall Thursday, July 8, 2010. Looking on from left are Nevada Development Authority President Somer Hollingsworth, UNLV President Neal Smatresk, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Regent James Dean Leavitt.

Updated Thursday, July 8, 2010 | 12:57 p.m.

Solar Test Site

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, left, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), center, and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu wait to announce a Nevada Test Site solar power development zone during a news conference at UNLV's Greenspun Hall Thursday, July 8, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Nevada took another step on Thursday toward becoming a world leader in the solar energy field.

The state will be home to the nation’s first solar research testing ground, planned for a large swath of land on the Nevada Test Site.

The 25-square-mile area will be home to a test lab for new concentrating solar power technologies. Sen. Harry Reid, who led efforts to get such a testing ground established on Nevada soil, said it would foster the next generation of solar energy technologies.

“It’s hard to imagine a better place to capture the heat from the sun than right here,” Reid said.

Construction on the facility is expected to start in 2011 and should bring thousands of short- and long-term jobs to Nevada, Reid said.

“When we bring the solar industry into Nevada, we bring jobs and we need jobs,” Reid said.

Those will include a wave of about 1,000 construction and electrical jobs to build the test projects, but also longer term jobs in maintenance, engineering and research.

Referencing Nevada’s position as the No. 1 state for unemployment and foreclosures, Reid urged the diversification of the state’s economy through increased renewable energy development.

“The best way to create jobs is to make Nevada the leader in something else -- new clean energy jobs,” he said.

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