First-ever solar project on federal lands in Arizona
Approval of the Sonoran Solar Energy Project is the first-ever solar project on public lands in Arizona, according to the BLM. The photovoltaic project will eventually produce 300 megawatts of electricity near Buckeye in Maricopa County [Right, credit BLM]
The Dept. of Interior announcement notes the project will be built on 2,013 acres of public land. BLM manages 12.2 million acres of public lands in Arizona, of which 3.4 million acres are managed for conservation and wilderness characteristics
The Arizona Republic reports that the project footprint is "about 1,600 acres fewer than the original proposal. The power array also will use just 33 acre-feet of water a year, far less than the 3,000 acre-feet a year first envisioned. The water savings will occur because the plant will use photovoltaic technology instead of the more water-intensive concentrated solar process."