U.S. OKs Largest Solar Project on Public Lands

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U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved construction of the largest solar-photovoltaic facility on public lands. The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, a 550-megawatt  solar power project, will be constructed in the California desert east of Palm Springs.

When complete, the project is expected to create more than 600 jobs, injecting $336 million into local economy. Desert Sunlight will generate enough energy to power more than 165,000 homes.

“The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is the largest photovoltaic facility Interior has approved thus far and, when built, will help power our nation and economy,” Secretary Salazar said. “With 12 large-scale solar projects approved in the last 18 months, we continue to make significant strides in spurring innovation, job-creation, and investment in the private sector while strengthening America’s energy security.”

Located on approximately 4,100 acres of public lands, the solar project will be developed and operated by Desert Sunlight Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of First Solar Inc.

The facility will use First Solar’s thin film photovoltaic technology, which generates electricity with low visual impact, no air emissions, waste production or water use, and has the smallest carbon footprint of any photovoltaic technology. An on-site substation and a 230-kiloVolt generation tie line will connect the project to the Red Bluff substation which will convert the power from 230 kV to 500kV for transmission on Southern California Edison’s regional grid.


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