First Solar wins govt nod for 450-MW solar park in California

First Solar-powered PV park in California. Author: U.S. Department of the Interior.

January 16 (Renewables Now) - The US administration has given the green light to a 450-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in California’s desert, putting an end to a long opposition process based on environmental concerns.

The Desert Quartzite scheme was proposed by Desert Quartzite LLC, a subsidiary of thin-film solar module maker First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gave its approval to the project on Wednesday, thus allowing the developer to build and operate the huge power plant on around 3,000 acres of public lands.

The government agency has authorised a smaller land designation area of 2,768 acres, including 2,608 acres on BLM land and 160 acres of private land -- a trimmed version of the developer’s proposal for 3,770 acres -- in order to avoid potential threats to desert tortoises and cultural artefacts.

The permit concerns the construction of the main generation area, an onsite substation, a switchyard, a 230-kV transmission line that will link the PV park to the Colorado River substation, as well as an operations and maintenance (O&M) building.

To be executed in California’s eastern Riverside County, near Palm Springs, the project calls for a total investment of USD 1 billion (EUR 897m). Up to 30 months will be needed for its construction, with commissioning seen by 2022. Once operational, the solar farm will be able to generate power for about 117,000 homes, bringing up to USD 2.7 million in annual rent and fees to the US economy.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.897)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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