The US Department of the Navy (DON) has signed an agreement with Western Area Power Administration and Sempra US Gas & Power to purchase power from the 210MW DC Mesquite Solar 3 facility, planned to be built 60 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona.

The power plant will feature more than 650,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels on ground-mounted, horizontal single-axis trackers.

Work on the project is likely to commence later this month.

Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016, the facility is expected to serve a third of the power requirements for 14 Navy and Marine Corps installations.

A request for proposal (RFP) for the solar project was issued by Western Area Power Administration following an interagency agreement with the DON in May 2014.

US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "The collaboration on Mesquite Solar 3 is a triumph of innovative problem solving, and will help to increase the DON’s energy security by diversifying our power portfolio and improving energy efficiency.

"This agreement is also projected to save the DON at least $90m over the life of the project."

The facility will contribute to the DON goal to purchase 1GW of renewable power by the end of this year.

Sempra US Gas & Power president and CEO Patti Wagner said: "We are pleased to partner with both the DON and Western to help contribute to the DON’s renewable energy portfolio and to expand out Mesquite solar complex."