By MICHELLE RINDELS
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Federal officials say they've approved a solar plant in southern Nevada that marks the first large-scale solar energy project on tribal land.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Thursday he signed off on a plan with the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians that will launch a 350-megawatt solar plant capable of powering 100,000 homes.
The project is planned on 2,000 acres of the tribe's reservation, located about 30 miles outside Las Vegas. Construction is slated to begin in the fall.
It's the 31st utility-scale renewable energy project that the Department of the Interior has approved on public lands since 2009.
Salazar says there's great potential for renewable energy on tribal lands, and it's important that Indian Country isn't left behind in the Obama administration's energy initiatives.
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