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Germany's E.ON eyes U.S. solar market

Company starts construction on large-scale solar farm in southern California.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Germany's E.ON eyes U.S. solar market
German energy company E.ON said it aims to expand its development across the U.S. solar power sector. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

DUSSELDORF, Germany, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- German energy company E.ON said it was working to expand its footprint in the U.S. utility sector through its activity in large-scale solar projects.

The German company said it started construction on the 20-megawatt Maricopa West solar project in southern California. With 89,000 panels, the company said it's the second such large-scale project built by E.ON in California.

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In May, the state became the first in the nation with more than 5 percent of its total annual utility-scale electricity generation coming from solar power. California's full-year 2014 solar power generation of 9.9 million megawatt hours was more than all other states combined, according to data from the federal Energy Information Administration.

The German company's first California project, the 20-megawatt Alamo Solar Park, was recently sold to Virginia-based power company Dominion for an undisclosed sum. E.ON said that was its first such sale in the United States.

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"E.ON is expanding its development pipeline across the United States," the company said in a statement. "A flexible business model based on global experience enables E.ON to deliver high-value renewable energy projects, regardless of whether E.ON or another entity is the owner or operator."

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The German utility company, along with its peers in the oil industry, is feeling fiscal pressure from low crude oil prices. In an August financial report, the company said it reduced its debt by 5 percent after posting a 21 percent decline in year-on-year net income to $1.3 billion

"Transforming our company during a period of extremely low power prices and volatile oil prices is a challenge," Chief Financial Officer Michael Sen said.

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