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Mesquite Solar 1 is getting closer to its full realization with SempraGeneration recently choosing Suntech Power Holdings and Zachry Holdings as the design and construction team for the Arizona solar project. Mesquite Solar 1 is set to produce 150MW (AC) of solar electricity, which will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) under a 20-year power purchase agreement once the California Public Utilities Commission gives its final approval.

"Large, multiphase solar projects like the 700MW Mesquite Solar energy complex are at the heart of our renewable strategy," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. "That's why this first 150MW phase is so important, and why we are pleased to partner with Suntech and Zachry as we begin developing this world-class solar complex."

Construction on Mesquite Solar 1 is lined up to begin by the middle of this year and reach completion by 2013. Upon its completion, the first phase of the Mesquite Solar energy complex will produce over 350,000MWh of electricity every year.

The Mesquite Solar project will be built 30 miles outside of Suntech’s new Goodyear, AZ, manufacturing facility, which will provide a number of the solar panels for the project. Zachry, a U.S. EPC provider, will manage the installation and integration of the 800,000 Suntech multicrystalline solar panels needed for the first phase.

"We're thrilled to work with Sempra Generation and Zachry to realize one of the world's largest solar projects just down the road from our U.S. manufacturing base in Goodyear," said Steven Chan, president of Suntech America. "This landmark project further substantiates the ongoing expansion of our local manufacturing operations, which has just expanded to a second production shift and 78 employees, up from 40 employees when it commenced operations in October 2010. We will continue to grow our U.S. footprint and work with local partners such as Zachry to facilitate the growth of the U.S. solar industry."