Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today joined community leaders and executives from Sempra Generation, a leading solar developer and subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), Zachry Holdings, Inc., a leading U.S. EPC firm, and Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest producer of solar panels, to celebrate the ongoing construction of Mesquite Solar 1.
“In order to advance Arizona’s economy, it’s essential that we attract the industries of the future,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “The Mesquite Solar complex represents clean energy and quality jobs. I look forward to Sempra Generation’s continued growth and success in Arizona.”
The event also commemorated the first shipment of solar panels from Suntech’s 117,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Goodyear, Ariz. to the construction site. Upon completion in 2013, the 150-megawatt (MW) Mesquite Solar 1 plant will feature more than
800,000 Suntech solar panels, with a portion of them manufactured in Arizona.
Developed by Sempra Generation, Mesquite Solar 1 will generate enough clean electricity for about 56,000 homes. As announced earlier this year, the power from the project has been sold under a 20-year agreement to California's Pacific Gas & Electric. At full build-out, the Mesquite Solar complex could grow to about 700 MW.
“We are pleased to be joined by Governor Brewer and the local community to celebrate the construction progress that’s being made here at the Mesquite Solar complex,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. “Because of the leadership of Governor Brewer and other policy-makers in the state, this solar project has created hundreds of new construction jobs while supporting an expanded manufacturing base in Arizona. Mesquite Solar 1 is a giant step forward for our company, and it’s having an even more significant impact on the local economy.”
With decades of experience in power plant construction, Zachry is responsible for the engineering and construction of Mesquite Solar 1.
“We are excited to partner with Sempra and Suntech to build one of the largest solar plants in the world,” said Steve Dedman, senior vice president with Zachry. “We are nearly complete with the design and procurement of materials, and are off to a good start on the construction effort. Many of our materials and supplies have been purchased from businesses in the local region. We have established a local employment office in Buckeye and are expecting a field workforce of several hundred employees at peak.”
Since opening in October 2010, Suntech’s Goodyear manufacturing facility has grown steadily, and now employs more than 100 professionals producing about 50 MW (DC) of solar panels each year. Over the next year, about one out of every three panels produced at Suntech’s Goodyear facility will be sent to the nearby Mesquite Solar 1 plant.
“It’s great to see thousands of panels coming off our lines and being installed right here in Arizona,” said John Lefebvre, president of Suntech America. “A skilled workforce and supportive business climate made Arizona a natural fit for Suntech’s first U.S. manufacturing facility. Arizona is well-positioned as a global hub in the growing clean energy economy.”