Massive solar plant proposed for Havasu

KINGMAN - One of the largest solar power plants in the nation could be built in Mohave County.

Needle Mountain Power, LLC has announced it will file an application in February with Western Area Power Administration to build a 1,200-megawatt solar generating facility on 10,000 acres of land north of Intestate 40 and State Route 95. It will replace the proposed 37,000-home Sterling master-planned community.

The company has been working on the solar project for the last 18 months, said Project Consulting Engineer Michael Clinton. The Arizona Department of Water Resources had slated nearly 8,500 acre-feet of water for the Sterling community. The Sterling Solar project will use about 10 percent of that water, Clinton said. The plant will also use mostly photovoltaic technology, which requires much less water than a concentrated solar plant such as Albiasa or Hualapai Valley Solar, two plants proposed for the Kingman area.

The project is expected to cost around $5 billion and would generate 1,500 jobs for six years during construction and 400 permanent staff to operate the facility. Construction could start as early as the end of 2010, Clinton said.

According to Supervisor Buster Johnson's office, the facility could increase Mohave County's property tax base by $6 million.

The project could go before the County Planning and Zoning Commission by late spring or early summer, Clinton said. The company also expects to apply for permits from the Arizona Corporation Commission in the spring.