NRG Solar, SunPower To Build $450M Plant In Calif.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- NRG Solar and SunPower Corp. announced Tuesday plans to build a 250-megawatt solar ranch in California's San Luis Obispo county, a project that will cost up to $450 million.

Under the agreement, NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc., will fully finance the plant, dubbed California Valley Solar Ranch, while SunPower will design, build, operate and maintain it.

The plant is expected to create some 350 jobs and provide power to about 100,000 homes.

The companies expect to begin construction in the second half of 2011, with a portion of the project expected to begin operating by the end of 2011, and the rest of the plant following in 2012 and 2013.

NRG also said that it has applied for a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Shares of NRG fell 16 cents to $19.39 in midday trading, while SunPower shares fell 22 cents to $11.73.

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