A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will own and operate the plant, which is being built by First Solar in Primm, Nevada, on the California/Nevada border, 40 miles south of Las Vegas.

Upon completion, the project is anticipated to generate enough power for about 80,000 homes annually.

The project, which is expected to start operations by early 2016, will avoid about 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.

Southern California Edison will buy the energy generated from the project under a long-term contract.

NextEra Energy Resources president and chief executive officer Armando Pimentel said: "Renewable energy sources such as solar power play an important role in the future energy mix in this country.

"We look forward to working with First Solar and Southern California Edison to make this project a reality."

The Silver State South development is First Solar’s fifth utility-scale solar power plant in development, construction or operation in southern Nevada.

Commenting on the ground breaking ceremony, First Solar chief executive officer Jim Hughes said: "First Solar is excited to celebrate this important milestone, and honored to continue to work with NextEra Energy Resources and Southern California Edison.

"By working together, we will provide jobs and significant economic benefits to Clark County as well as helping SCE deliver, clean renewable energy to its customers."

First Solar currently has about 750MW of projects in several stages of development, construction and operation in Nevada.