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Pinnacle West Capital Corp’s (PNW - Analyst Report) primary subsidiary Arizona Public Service & Co announced the conclusion of the first phase of the Foothills Solar Power Plant in Yuma County, Ariz., bringing online 17 megawatt ("MW'). The remaining 18 MW is expected to come into operation by late 2013.

The Foothills project is a part of the company’s ambitious AZ Sun program. The 17 MW that came online was the first to be built on Arizona State Trust Land. The plant’s design and construction was carried out by Atlanta based engineering and project management company, AMEC.

The Foothills solar plant is situated on 400 acres of land and has generating capacity to adequately provide electricity to around 8,750 customers in Yuma County. In addition to Foothills the company also plans to bring into operation the 14 MW Hyder II Solar plant this year.

Recently, Pinnacle announced its intention to build a 32 MW solar facility in the Gila Blend Township. The string of renewable ventures is expected to bring Pinnacle West’s generation capacity to 700 MW in 2013. This will help serve power to about 175,000 consumers in the state.

Pinnacle West’s disciplined focus on the development of renewable energy will drive its growth objectives. The rising efforts of the U.S. government to promote clean and sustainable energy in the future will bode well for the company’s renewable expansion targets.

The hot desert climate of Arizona further encourages solar production. The company’s use of low-cost modules also keeps project costs down, thereby retaining customer loyalty.

Pinnacle West currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other utility stocks doing well are Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP - Snapshot Report), Pike Electric Corp. (PIKE - Snapshot Report) and Empresa Nacional Electricidad SA (EOC - Snapshot Report).

Phoenix, Ariz.-based Pinnacle West along with its subsidiaries offers retail and wholesale electric services.

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