Greg Sorensen, president of Liberty Utilities of California addresses those in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Luning Solar Energy Center on Tuesday, April 12.

Construction on the project began on Feb. 11 according to Liberty Utilities.

The project will provide 25 percent of the utility’s energy requirements when completed. The projected date for completion is December of this year.

Travis Johnson, Liberty’s Vice President of Operations addressed those in attendance by saying, “We’re very excited to make this milestone toward Liberty Utilities’ commitment to provide clean energy to our customers.”

The utility company provides electric service to 49,000 customers on the California side of Lake Tahoe, which includes the communities of: Markleeville; Woodfords; Topaz; Coleville and Walker. They also provide energy parts of other cities.

In a press release from Liberty Utilities, the solar project will be a 50 MW project. The solar facility itself, a 120 kV power line which will be approximately 1.6 miles long will be constructed form the solar facility to NV Energy’s existing Table Mountain Substation.

Mineral County’s economic boost comes from the employment of approximately 100 full-time equivalent workers, during construction.

Representing Governor Brian Sandoval, Steve Henricksen, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Energy explained, “Earlier this year, the governor’s office, awarded Luning Energy a three-year sales an use tax abatement and 20-year property tax incentive worth approximately $18 million dollars. In return, Nevada stands to gain $129 million dollars from the facility’s capital investment, property taxes, school support taxes and employee payroll. This represents a 7-to-1 return on investment for investment for Nevada.”

He continued, “The financial support and jobs created through this project highlights our office’s successful Renewable Energy Tax Abatement Program, which offers incentives to eligible renewable energy producers who are looking to invest in Nevada. Nevada has an unshakable commitment to the development and exportation of renewable energy and I want to thank Luning Energy, Liberty Utilities and Mineral County for working with the governor’s office on Nevada’s newest solar facility.”

The Luning Solar Energy Center will produce as much electricity to roughly power 132,000, annually.