Arizona's solar energy industry is expanding again. On Oct. 12, Sempra Generation announced its plans to build a large-scale solar photovoltaic plant in Arizona. The first phase of the planned Mesquite Solar Complex will generate 150 megawatts of electricity, with the capacity to grow to 600 megawatts at full build-out. The plant will be located in Arlington, 40 miles west of Phoenix, on former agricultural land and will connect to the grid at the Hassayampa switchyard.

Sempra Generation, a San Diego-based subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has entered into a 20-year, 150-megawatt power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric, which is pending approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. Construction at the Mesquite Solar site is slated to begin next year and conclude in 2013. Don Cardon, president and CEO of the new Arizona Commerce Authority, credited Arizona's securing of this project to the state's new renewable energy tax incentives, including SB 1254 (2009), which provides credits for renewable energy generators on a per-kilowatt-hour basis.

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