Stirling Energy Systems, the Phoenix-based developer of a massive solar dish project in Imperial County, announced today it has sold a controlling interest in its company to an Irish renewable energy company.

NTR plc, a Dublin-based company, will invest $100 million in Stirling, a move that Stirling officials said would give it “the financial strength and commercial expertise” to deliver its promised project.

Stirling has a contract with San Diego Gas & Electric to build 300 megawatts of solar energy in Imperial County, enough to power almost 200,000 homes. If successful, the venture could triple in size, powering as many as 600,000 homes. But the project, which would use mirrored dishes to focus the sun’s energy on a small engine, had shown little progress since being announced in 2005.

ROB DAVIS

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