Largest solar plant approved for Calif.

Aug. 10, 2011 at 8:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has approved a 550-megawatt solar power project to be built in the California desert, the largest U.S. facility to date.

The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm to be built east of Palm Springs will generate enough energy to power more than 165,000 homes when it is completed, an Interior Department release said Wednesday.

Construction activity will create 630 jobs and bring $336 million into the local economy, Salazar said.

"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," he said.

Located on approximately 4,100 acres of public lands, the proposal underwent extensive environmental review with the final environmental impact statement issued April 15, 2011.

The Interior's Bureau of Land Management is requiring that Desert Sunlight provide funding for acquisition and enhancement of more than 7,500 acres of suitable habitat for sensitive wildlife species to help mitigate the project's potential impacts, the Interior release said.

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