Las Vegas Valley Water District to build 3.1 MW solar project

With Nevada Power Co., it jointly announces regulatory approval of contracts with PowerLight Corp. to proceed with a 3.1 megawatt solar power project. The project consists of four solar electric systems at the water district's Las Vegas Springs Preserve, and three systems located at reservoir sites within the water distribution system. It will be one of the world's largest solar electric systems...

LAS VEGAS, March 2, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Las Vegas Valley Water District and Nevada Power Co. jointly announced the regulatory approval of contracts with PowerLight Corp. to proceed with a 3.1 megawatt solar power project.

On Feb. 23, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approved the project which consists of four solar electric systems at the water district's Las Vegas Springs Preserve, and three systems located at reservoir sites within the water distribution system. The district's board of directors approved the contracts in October 2004. In addition to producing clean, renewable power over the next 30 years, the solar arrays at the Springs Preserve will provide shaded parking for up to 200 cars. The solar project, which uses no water and is emissions-free, is expected to become operational in 2005.

"The District's mission is to provide reliable, quality water and to ensure the sustainability of our desert community," said Pat Mulroy, district general manager. "This project is part of our continuing commitment to serve our customers and protect our environment. It will provide visitors to the Springs Preserve with a direct experience with clean power generation."

"Many people in Nevada have worked for the past five years to craft what are the best renewable energy laws in the United States," said U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate minority leader. "I salute this landmark solar project, the people who helped make it possible and the great collaboration it represents between the Las Vegas Valley Water District and Nevada Power."

"The District's project was competitively selected by Nevada Power, as part of its 2003 Renewable Energy Request for Proposals, on the basis of a large number of factors including cost and the experience of the team," said Roberto Denis, senior vice president of Generation and Energy Supply for the company. "One of solar's key benefits is that it produces maximum power during the summer season -- when electricity use is at its highest. This project will add to Nevada Power's renewable energy portfolio."

PowerLight Executive Vice President Howard Wenger added, "By constructing this ambitious solar project, the Las Vegas Valley Water District is illustrating Nevada's environmentally responsible approach to energy use. Solar power is a practical and affordable mechanism for reducing grid instability, especially during peak electrical demand hours -- at times when state transmission lines are the most constrained. This project benefits all southern Nevada utility customers."

Jon Wellinghof, the Nevada energy attorney who drafted the Renewable Energy Legislation said, "Nevada is a state rich in sunshine. When Nevada enacted this legislation in 2001, it was our hope that we would begin to intelligently use our most abundant resource. The Water District's project is especially significant because it generates electricity at the site of energy consumption. Distributed Generation helps reduce electric line losses, reduces transmission constraints and improves system security," said former Assemblyman Jason Geddes, sponsor of AB 296. "Distributed Generation is the future of the electric grid."

About the project:
-- It consists of photovoltaic (PV) systems located at four District sites; most noteworthy is the Las Vegas Springs Preserve where the technology and installation will be an intrinsic element of the visitor's experience.
-- Over their 30-year operating life, the solar electric systems will generate clean electricity and save the equivalent of 5.8 million barrels of oil. By avoiding hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the project is the equivalent of planting 1,320 acres of trees or not driving over 350 million miles.
-- The project will be built by PowerLight Corporation, the leading manufacturer and provider of large solar projects, which has successfully built more than 300 large scale solar projects since 1991.

Nevada Power Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources, is a regulated public utility engaged in the distribution, transmission, generation, purchase and sale of electric energy in southern Nevada. The company provides electricity to approximately 725,000 residential and business customers in a 4,500-square-mile service area.

PowerLight (www.powerlight.com) is the leading manufacturer and supplier of large-scale solar electric systems and energy efficiency services. Founded in 1991, it delivers reliable, affordable, clean power solutions for business and government customers worldwide. Inc. Magazine has ranked PowerLight among the top 500 fastest growing privately held companies for the past five consecutive years. It has built and continues to operate many of the largest solar electric systems in North America and Europe.

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