msnbc.com news services
updated 8/1/2007 8:03:12 AM ET 2007-08-01T12:03:12

California utility company PG&E Corp. said it will purchase 553 megawatts of solar power annually from a solar park in the Mojave Desert run by Israel-based Solel Solar Systems.

The initiative will bring renewable energy to 18 percent of the company's total power supply in coming years, and closer to compliance with a California requirement of 20 percent by 2010.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PG&E said the agreement will provide enough energy to power 400,000 homes. In 2006, the company served 5.1 million electricity customers and 4.2 million natural gas customers.

PG&E said the park, yet to be built, will be fully operational in 2011.

The Mojave Solar Park, which Solel is developing on 6,000 acres of desert, will use solar thermal technology that relies on 1.2 million mirrors. Those parabolic mirrors will transfer heat to a fluid that is used run steam-power turbines, which put electricity onto the utility's power grid.

Currently, Solel operates nine power plants and generates 354 megawatts of annual electricity with the same technology.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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