Work begins on $1 billion solar power plant south of Vegas; electricity bound for California

Energy Associated Press

Company and federal officials have marked the start of construction on a $1 billion solar power generating station in the desert 50 miles south of Las Vegas.

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Executives with Arizona-based First Solar Inc. and Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources joined federal Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze at a ceremony Wednesday at the site of the 250-megawatt project, dubbed Silver State South.

It is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 80,000 California homes when it is completed in 2016.

First Solar is building the array on almost 4 square miles of federal land adjacent to the 25-megawatt Silver State North project the company completed in 2012 on almost 1 square mile of land near the Nevada-California state line.

NextEra will own both plants.