Israel’s BrightSource Energy signs world’s largest solar deal with CaliforniaSouthern California Edison (SCE), California’s largest electric utility, has signed an agreement with Israel’s BrightSource Energy on a series of contracts for 1,300 megawatts of clean solar thermal power, making it the world’s largest solar deal. The agreement, which is enough to serve nearly 845,000 homes, now requires approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. It calls for a series of seven projects totaling 1,300 megawatts. The first of these solar power plants, sized at 100 megawatts and located in Ivanpah, California, could be operating in early 2013 and is expected to produce 286,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year. BrightSource plans to build and start running the plants as quickly as permitting and infrastructure allow. The full 1,300 megawatts of projects will produce 3.7 billion kilowatt-hours of clean energy and avoid more than two million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – the equivalent of removing more than 335,000 cars from the road. The agreement shows the growing demand for solar thermal energy as a reliable source of utility-scale renewable power, said John Woolard, CEO of BrightSource Energy, which was recently selected as a 2009 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.