NEW YORK Sempra Energy said on Thursday that it plans to expand its Copper Mountain Solar power plant, the largest in the United States, and would sell the electricity to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
The plant, in Boulder City, Nevada, will add another 150 megawatts in photovoltaic solar capacity and will be built by First Solar.
Sempra and First Solar built the first Copper Mountain project, which was completed last year and has a capacity of 48 MW. The companies previously built a 10 MW plant in Boulder City that went into operation in 2008.
The first 92 MW of the planned expansion is expected to be completed by January 2013, with the remaining 58 MW completed by 2015. The new development will provide enough power to supply 45,000 homes.
Like other California utilities, PG&E has been buying electricity from renewable power projects to meet the state's goal for one-third of power supplies to be generated by clean energy sources.
A spokesman for Sempra said the project expansion needs approval from local authorities, which is expected before the California utilities regulators approve PG&E's power purchase agreement.
Shares in PG&E were down 0.4 percent to $40.32, Sempra's shares were down 2.7 percent to $48.36 and First Solar's shares were off 5.4 percent to $108.99 amid the broad U.S. stock market selloff.
(Reporting by Matt Daily. Editing by Robert MacMillan)