This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 20, 2010

Interior Department Approves First Solar Project on Nevada Public Lands

Photo of a field of panels which capture sunlight in the desert.

First Solar has experience building large solar power plants, including this 10-megawatt facility in Boulder City, Nevada.
Credit: First Solar

The U.S. Department of the Interior approved on October 13 the First Solar, Inc. Silver State North Solar Project, making it the first large-scale solar energy project on U.S. public lands in Nevada. The 50-megawatt (MW) solar facility will be built in the Ivanpah Valley, 40 miles south of Las Vegas. The project underwent extensive public environmental review by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, through draft and final environmental impact statements. The Silver State installation is one of several renewable energy projects in the pipeline for the state, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

Phase one of Silver State will consist of the construction and operation of a solar photovoltaic plant, including associated facilities, on 618 acres of public lands. The electricity generated from this plant is expected to supply power for about 15,000 homes, and it will be sold to the Nevada market via a power purchase agreement with NV Energy. The power will connect into NV Energy's existing electrical grid. First Solar plans to add 350 MW in capacity at the site, which will require additional supplemental environmental review and analysis. See the Interior Department press release, a project fact sheetPDF, and BLM record of decisionPDF for Silver State.