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LA agrees to purchase power from solar farm on Moapa Indian land

LA Mayor Villaragosa unveiling a PV arrayLast week Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that the city would get solar power through long-term contracts from a number of new providers, including a 250 megawatt contract with the Moapa Band of Paiutes in Nevada, who plan to build a 350 megawatt solar farm on their tribal lands. In all, the mayor signed ordinances allowing long-term power-purchase agreements contracts for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power totaling 460 megawatts of clean solar power for LADWP customers.

It’s the first major solar project on lands owned by Native American tribes and is being built by K Road, which has partnered with the tribe as K Road Moapa Solar, LLC. As part of the agreement, K Road will train members of the tribe to build and maintain the array to ensure that tribal labor is used in the construction of the project.

“These solar contracts are proof positive that environmental progress and economic growth go hand-in-hand,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “It is high time Los Angeles kicked its addiction to dirty coal energy and I am proud we are setting an example for a successful, cost-efficient transition to renewable energy.”
The other project the mayor announced the city would purchase power is the Copper Mountain Solar 3 project. It will purchase 210 megawatts of 250-megawatt project near Boulder City, Nev. “Both projects are scheduled to be completed by 2016 and are not yet under construction,” said Joe Romallo, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

It’s just a small part of the city’s robust renewables program, which already gets more than 20 percent of its power from renewables and now plans to source 25 percent of its power from renewables by 2016 and 33 percent by 2020. “They are by no means all of the solar we contemplate or already have on hand,” Romallo said. “We have a robust Solar Incentive Program for local rooftop solar, a 10 megawatt utility scale plant under construction at Pine Tree Wind Farm and another 250 megawatt project,” he said. That array is planned for planned Kern County, Calif.

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