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Sempra to build another solar power plant in Boulder City

Copper Mountain Solar One

Leila Navidi

Copper Mountain Solar One, a thin film photovoltaic solar facility off U.S. 95 in Boulder City seen Thursday, February 10, 2011.

Copper Mountain Solar One

Copper Mountain Solar One and Eldorado Solar are seen on the left and Nevada Solar One on the right of Eldorado Valley Road off U.S. 95 in Boulder City on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. Launch slideshow »

After building the country’s largest photovoltaic power plant in Boulder City, California-based Sempra Generation is coming back to Southern Nevada with even bigger plans.

The company announced plans Thursday to build a 150-megawatt solar energy plant on 1,100 acres in the El Dorado Valley in Boulder City. The new installation, dubbed Copper Mountain Solar 2, will produce nearly triple the amount of electricity generated at the nearby photovoltaic plant Copper Mountain Solar 1, which was opened in 2010.

The addition will generate enough energy to power 45,000 homes, according to Sempra. The cost of the project was not disclosed.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2012 and wrap up by 2015, employing about 175 construction workers at any time.

The new plant will start generating electricity as early as January 2013. The power will be shipped to California as part of a 25-year agreement announced Thursday between Sempra Generation and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Sempra spokesman Scott Crider said the Copper Mountain expansion further cemented Boulder City’s place as a solar energy leader in the country.

“They have an intense concentration of solar development and the potential for more future development,” he said. “Few areas in the country have as much solar as they will.”

Crider said the availability of large tracts of unused land, abundant sunshine and a strong transmission infrastructure to get power to California all make Boulder City an ideal spot for solar projects.

Sempra will be installing thin-film photovoltaic panels ideal for the desert because they don’t use water to generate power, Crider said.

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