Solar demonstration project set for Nevada Test Site

A portion of the Nevada Test Site will be dedicated to demonstrating and testing new solar technologies and serve as a model for solar projects near military installations throughout the desert Southwest, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid announced Thursday.

Reid, D-Nev., joined U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at UNLV to announce a new, 25-square-mile "solar energy demonstration zone" at the test site.

"Nevada stands to be the leader in solar production and technology development, especially with this kind of positive support from our federal partners," Reid said. "The Nevada Test Site can and should be a proving ground for new ideas and for attracting clean-energy industries that will help our state and country compete globally."

Federal energy and interior officials have been directed by the president to expedite projects that advance new solar energy technologies and encourage renewable energy projects on public lands.

"The Nevada Test Site is about to play a new role in securing America’s future — but instead of testing nuclear weapons, we will test new solar technologies that will help put America on a sustainable energy path," Chu said.

The U.S. Air Force will help troubleshoot the new test site project.

"The Test Site’s selection over 25 competing sites is a testament to our commitment to invest in renewable energy and a reminder of how vital it is that we continue to lay the foundation for future projects in an increasingly competitive field," Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said in a statement supporting the project. "It is fitting that the Test Site, which was at the forefront of winning the Cold War, will once again assume a leadership position in the effort to build a clean energy future."

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at or 702-383-0285.

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