SOLAR | In Operation

Mesquite Solar 1
Mesquite Solar
Location: Tonopah, AZ
Capacity: 150 MW
Homes Powered: 59,000 (CA)
Completed: December 2012
Customer: Pacific Gas & Electric

Mesquite Solar 1 is the first phase of the 4000-acre Mesquite Solar complex, one of the largest photovoltaic solar power installations in North America. The plant was among the first in the country to use liquid-cooled inverter technology, which was the basis for receiving a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy in support of the project.

Mesquite Solar 1 became one of the few solar facilities in the U.S. – and the first in Arizona – to receive a “Voluntary Protection Programs Star” work site designation from the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The award is the organization’s highest recognition for exemplary safety performance.

Renewable power from Mesquite Solar 1 is sold to California’s Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year contract. Mesquite Solar 1 is a jointly owned by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and Consolidated Edison Development.

Benefits

  • Created about 530 local construction jobs at peak and 10 full-time positions
  • Requires no water to generate electricity, saving this precious resource for other needs
  • A portion of the panels utilized at Mesquite Solar 1 are manufactured in Arizona
  • Built on previously disturbed land near existing power plants and transmission lines
  • Reduces greenhouse gases by about 274,000 tons annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 57,500 cars off the road

Mesquite Solar Site Expansion

With little cloud cover and relatively intense solar radiation, Arizona is particularly well suited for solar energy. The Mesquite Solar complex site offers land availability, proximity to transmission facilities suitable for interconnection, flat terrain, and compatible neighboring land uses – all factors which are key to siting of a solar energy facility.

In anticipation of the development of future phases of the Mesquite Solar complex, Sempra U.S. Gas & Power is seeking an amendment of the Special Use Permit to add a 1,280-acre expansion area to the project site. An application has been filed with Maricopa County, and notices have been sent to land owners located within 300 feet of the Mesquite Solar site.