A New Mexico land deal is set to bring about the world’s largest solar generation project after state commissioner of public lands Patrick Lyons and Arizona-based New Solar Ventures and Solar Torx signed an agreement to build the plant on state trust lands northwest of Deming some 370 km southwest of Albuquerque.

The initial agreement will see the construction and operation of a photovoltaic module manufacturing plant and a small test field on one 640 acre (260 Ha) section of trust lands.

Five subsequent leases are expected to be signed to allow the facility to expand over five adjacent sections to 3,200 acres ( Ha1,300) and more than 300 MW.

The $1.6 billion project would take five years to build including the initial factory investment of $650,000. The two start-up companies, both based in Phoenix, will operate the joint venture and have leased the initial land parcel at $2 an acre. New Solar Ventures is overseeing the technical aspects of the project, while Solar Torx is responsible for obtaining financing.

The plant should begin producing electricity on a commercial scale by 2010.

Lyons and the State Land Office manage nine million acres of state trust lands.

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