900 megawatts (MW) of new solar energy projects in California have just been approved by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. 750 MW is from the McCoy Solar Energy Project and the other 150 MW are coming from the Desert Harvest Solar Farm.
The two new utility-scale projects will both be located in California’s Riverside East Solar Energy Zone, which is considered to be one of the most suitable areas for solar development.
“These renewable energy projects reflect the Obama Administration’s commitment to expand domestic energy production on our public lands and diversify our nation’s energy portfolio,” Salazar was quoted as saying in a Department of Interior press release. “In just over four years, we have advanced 37 wind, solar and geothermal projects on our public lands – or enough to power more than 3.8 million American homes. These projects are bolstering rural economies by generating good jobs and reliable power and strengthening our national energy security.”
Once completed, the $100 million dollar McCoy Solar Energy Project will be one of the biggest photovoltaic projects located on public lands in the Californian desert, covering 1,780 hectares of land and powering about 200,000 homes. The project will be developed, owned, and maintained by McCoy Solar, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. It’s estimated that peak construction will result in 600 temporray construction jobs and about 20 new permanent jobs.
The second project, the Desert Harvest Solar Farm, will cover about 489 hectares and create enough power to supply around 45,000 homes with electricity. “The facility will be equipped with single-axis tracking technology, an on-site substation and a 230-kilovolt line to the Red Bluff Substation, which will connect the project to the Southern California Edison regional transmission grid.” Peak construction on the project should result in the creation of around 250 jobs.
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