updated 2/8/2006 2:08:16 PM ET 2006-02-08T19:08:16

A pair of companies have announced plans to build the largest solar energy project of its kind in southern Nevada to sell electricity to the military.

Las Vegas-based Powered by Renewables Corp. and SunEdison of Baltimore said Monday they plan to build an 18-megawatt photovoltaic plant by the end of the year in Clark County, with plans to double capacity and supply enough energy to power 36,000 homes.

"We're starting to show the world," said Tim Carlson, Powered by Renewables president. "Nevada in particular is really becoming a serious renewable energy state."

The facility could cost $115 million, and would be larger than a 10-megawatt photovoltaic system in Germany, currently the largest solar plant of its kind in the world, the companies said.

The companies intend to sell power to a military installation in Clark County.

The solar panels would track the sun for greater efficiency, providing the most power on summer days when air conditioning causes electric power needs to peak, Carlson said.

Construction is scheduled to start in July with some power being produced by the end of the year and the remainder by mid-2007, Carlson said.

In a statement released by the company, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., hailed the project. U.S. Senator Harry Reid. "These are the kinds of ventures we hope to repeat across the West, and the nation, as part of our drive for energy independence by 2020," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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