US approves nearly 1 GW of PV projects for California

Salazar approved the two photovoltaic projects yesterday, in San Francisco. They include the 750 MW McCoy Solar Energy Project, set to be located around 13 miles northwest of Blythe.

If completed, the project, which has been proposed by NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary, McCoy Solar, LLC, will cover approximately 7,700 acres of BLM-managed lands and 477 acres of private land. A total of 503 construction and 34 permanent jobs are expected to be created, and enough energy should be generated to power around 225,000 homes. No construction timelines were released.

The second project approved was the 150 MW Desert Harvest Solar Farm, to be located six miles north of Desert Center. When complete, it is expected to encompass around 1,208 acres of BLM-managed lands. Overall, 250 construction and eight permanent jobs are expected to be created, and enough energy generated to power around 45,000 homes. Again, no construction timelines have been released.

"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," stated Salazar. Overall, the U.S. Interior is said to have approved 37 renewable energy projects, including 20 utility-scale solar facilities, since 2009.

In a report released by SEIA and GTM Research today, it was found that utility-scale photovoltaic projects led solar market growth in the U.S. in 2012. A total of 3.31 GW was installed last year – of which utility-scale accounted for 1.782 GW – taking cumulative capacity to 7.7 GW. The utility-scale trend is not expected to widely continue into 2013, however.