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Xcel to Buy Power From Goldman Colorado Solar Plant

Xcel Energy Inc., the owner of utilities that operate in eight U.S. states, will buy the power from a solar plant in southern Colorado that’s being developed by Cogentrix Energy LLC.

The 30-megawatt solar field will concentrate the sun’s rays onto photovoltaic panels that generate electricity, providing enough power for about 6,500 homes, Charlotte, North Carolina- based Cogentrix said today in a statement. Cogentrix is a unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

When completed, the concentrating photovoltaic, or CPV, plant will be the largest of its kind in the world, Cogentrix said. The technology represents less than 0.5 percent of total installed global solar energy. Cogentrix will use panels designed by Torrance, California-based Amonix Inc., which plans to complete a factory near Las Vegas by the end of this year.

“It’s a much more efficient way of converting sunlight to electricity,” Jef Freeman, a spokesman for Cogentrix, said today in an interview.

Construction will begin early next year and the solar farm should be generating electricity in the second quarter of 2012. Financing for the project, the cost of which wasn’t disclosed, is “in the works,” Freeman said.

Xcel Energy’s Public Service Co. of Colorado, the state’s largest utility, will buy power from the plant under a 20-year agreement. The price of the electricity wasn’t disclosed.

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