RENO, Nev. (AP) — The National Science Foundation has awarded a $20 million grant to Nevada’s higher education system to help find ways to make large-scale solar power plants more practical and efficient on arid desert lands.

Sen. Harry Reid announced the grant Monday for the project called, “The Solar Energy-Water-Environment Nexus in Nevada.”

The collaborative effort includes the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Desert Research Institute. The grant is expected to employ at least 100 technicians, students and faculty for five years.

It is part of an experimental program aimed at stimulating competitive research to make solar panels more efficient while minimizing use of water as well as environmental impacts.

Reid says the research will secure Nevada’s position as the nation’s undisputed leader in clean energy.

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