October 5, 2010 / 9:20 PM / 7 years ago

AEP to anchor major Midwest solar plant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) American Electric Power Co Ltd’s Ohio unit and Turning Point Solar LLC announced a deal on a new solar power plant, the largest commercial solar power plant east of the Rockies.

AEP said it would buy the output of the 49.9 megawatt plant from Turning Point Solar, a joint venture between Agile Energy Inc and New Harvest Power.

The plant will cost an estimated $250 million and create about 600 jobs, including jobs at factories to be built to supply it with solar modules and solar trackers.

Turning Point plans to build the plant on a former strip mine in southeastern Ohio, an economically depressed part of the state. It will have a capacity of about 20 megawatts of power by late 2012, with full production scheduled for the end of 2014.

The plant will use photovoltaic technology. Keeping it under 50 megawatts simplifies the regulatory process, said Turning Point spokesman Dave Lundy.

If approved by state and regional regulators, the plant would power at least 25,000 homes during daylight hours, said Turning Point spokesman Dave Lundy.

Turning Point is seeking financing through government programs, including from the Department of Energy and Department of Agriculture, Lundy said.

Agile Energy Inc. is a developer of utility-scale renewable power plants based in San Bruno, Calif. New Harvest Power is a venture group based in Columbus, Ohio.

AEP’s stock closed up slightly at $36.34.

Reporting by Sarah McBride. Editing by Robert MacMillan

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