Oakland's BrightSource Energy, which already has a deal to build a huge solar power plant in the desert for Pacific Gas & Electric, announced an even larger project this morning after Southern California Edison said it would buy 1,300 megawatts from BrightSource.

The first plant, to be built in the Mojave Desert, will be it operation by 2013. Six more 200-megawatt plants will follow. When fully online, the plants will provide power to 845,000 homes.

"This landmark agreement illustrates the increasing demand for solar thermal energy as a reliable source of utility-scale renewable power," said John Woolard, chief executive officer of BrightSource Energy.

BrightSource's solar-thermal technology uses thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a boiler. That creates steam, which then feeds a turbine and creates electricity.

The company is seeking regulatory approval to build plants generating up to 900 megawatts worth of solar power for PG&E. It has said it expects approval and construction to come this year.

Contact Matt Nauman at (408) 920-5701 or mnauman@mercurynews.com.



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