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U.S. Approves First Solar Project on American Indian Land

The U.S. approved a 350-megawatt solar farm in Nevada, the first utility-scale project on American Indian tribal lands.

Construction is scheduled to begin this year on the reservation of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians in Clark County, Nevada, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said today on a conference call with reporters.

The tribe will receive lease income from the power plant and a tribally owned gas station and casino complex will be connected to the power grid. There are more than 250 American Indian reservations suitable for renewable-energy projects that may provide similar economic benefits, Salazar said.

“We know there is great potential for tribes when it comes to renewable energy, to generate investment, new jobs and new sources of revenues,” he said. “We do not want Indian country to be left behind as we move forward with the new-energy frontier.”

The project will be built in three phases of about 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts by K Road Moapa Solar LLC, according to a statement today. When complete, the facility will power about 100,000 homes.

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