The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved three solar energy contracts signed last year by Southern California Edison.

The 20-year contracts signed by the subsidiary of Rosemead's Edison International are for purchase of 711 megawatts of solar energy from three planned facilities owned and operated by SunPower Corp. of Richmond, Calif.

The plants will be located near Los Banos in California’s Central Valley and Rosamond in the Mojave Desert. The Quinto solar project near Los Banos is expected to come on line in December 2014, while the twin facilities near Rosamond are due to begin operations in October 2016.

The contracts are part of Edison’s plan to meet state targets for investor-owned utilities to procure 33 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. Southern California Edison currently gets about 20 percent of its power from renewables.

A megawatt is enough energy to power nearly 1,000 single-family homes.

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