L.A. officially set to buy solar power from plants near Las Vegas

Copper Mountain Solar One, a thin film photovoltaic solar facility off U.S. 95 in Boulder City seen Thursday, February 10, 2011.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa finalized deals to buy power from two solar plants slated to be built near Las Vegas.

He signed ordinances on Thursday approving power purchasing contracts for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. They let the agency bring 460 megawatts of solar energy to Los Angeles, including up to 250 megawatts from the Moapa Solar Energy Center 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas and 210 megawatts from the Copper Mountain Solar 3 project in Boulder City.

Combined, they will provide enough power for 193,000 Los Angeles households and help the agency meet its goal of supplying 33 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

“It is high time Los Angeles kicked its addiction to dirty coal energy,” Villaraigosa said in a statement.

Developer K Road Power, with offices in New York and San Francisco, plans to build the Moapa Solar center on Moapa Paiutes tribal land. The facility is slated to be completed in summer 2015 and would be one of the first large-scale solar projects on U.S. tribal property.

San Diego-based Sempra U.S. Gas & Power is developing Copper Mountain as part of its Copper Mountain Solar complex, one of the largest photovoltaic solar plants in the country.

The first phase, Copper Mountain Solar 1, opened in December 2010 and powers about 17,000 homes. Construction of the second phase, Copper Mountain Solar 2, started about a year ago and is expected to serve 45,000 homes. The third phase, serving Los Angeles, is expected to be finished in 2015.