This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 09, 2007

Record-Breaking Solar Power Installations Underway in the West

Construction began in late April on the largest solar photovoltaic system in North America, a 15-megawatt system at Nellis Air Force Base. The solar power system will consist of 70,000 solar panels erected on 140 acres of unused land at the base, which is located on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada. The base is leasing the land to MMA Renewable Ventures, a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, which will finance, own, and operate the system, selling the power to Nellis. The sun-tracking solar power system is expected to generate 25 million kilowatt-hours of solar power per year, meeting about a quarter of the electricity needs at the base. The advanced tracking system was designed by PowerLight Corporation, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation. The project will be completed later this year. See the press releases from Nellis and SunPower.

Another solar energy project will set a record for Colorado. Governor Bill Ritter helped to break ground in late April for an 8.22-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant that will be the largest in the state. Located near Alamosa in south-central Colorado, the facility will help Xcel Energy meet its renewable energy requirements. SunEdison will build, own, and operate the facility using more than 27,000 solar panels from Suntech Power Holdings. See the press release from the governor and from SunEdison (PDF 16 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Kohl's Corporation have also made major commitments to installing solar power on their stores. Wal-Mart will rely on three solar suppliers to install solar power systems on 22 facilities in California and Hawaii, including Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Clubs, and a distribution center. Kohl's has signed with SunEdison for solar power installations on 24 of its 80 stores in California. Construction on two of the projects will start in May, and all the projects should be completed by the end of 2008. Kohl's plans to eventually install solar power on at least 40 more stores in California. See the press releases from Wal-Mart and Kohl's.

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