According to Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy, extended areas of land over western America will become ‘solar energy zones’ for developing utility-level solar projects in future.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has identified the locations after performing a through ecological study in a joint operation with Department of the interior (DOI) and Department of Energy (DOE). The study also recognized as "Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement" (PEIS), has identified a number of suitable locations for solar power development in North America.
The Draft Solar PEIS program has identified over 120 million acres of land in six states such as Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and California with solar potentiality for developing solar farms. The program excluded the lands with 5% or more amount of slopes and the places that receive less than 6.5 kWh per square meter in a day as inappropriate for solar power development. The program could identify around 22 million acres of land for immediate development of solar applications. This lot includes around 677,400 acres of land placed for exclusive use of Solar Energy Zones.
A recently released report from DOE indicates that under the fast-track initiative of the department around eight utility-level solar power projects have received the sanction for constructing solar farms over the lands identified in Nevada and California to produce around 3,572 MW of solar power. BLM has under its disposal over 104 applications for developing over 1 million acres of land that can produce more than 60,000 MW of clean solar energy.