The Golden State is about to get one hell of a solar boost, as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar just gave the green light for the construction of the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm – a 550 megawatt solar power project that will be built in the California desert east of Palm Springs. The photovoltaic solar facility will generate enough energy to power 165,000 homes while bolstering the local economy by creating more than 630 jobs during its construction. The plant will use state-of-the-art ultra-thin photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate electricity with low visual impact and no air emissions, waste production or water use. In fact, it is expected to have the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology.

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“The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is the largest photovoltaic facility the Interior has approved thus far and, when built, will help power our nation and economy,” Secretary Salazar said. “With 12 large-scale solar projects approved in the last 18 months, we continue to make significant strides in spurring innovation, job-creation, and investment in the private sector while strengthening America’s energy security.”

Here at Inhabitat, we have covered multiple solar power plants in the area. With the inclusion of the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, the region will have a combined solar capacity of 354 megawatts (MW), making it the largest solar power installation in the world. Nevada’s Solar One is a solar thermal plant with a 64 MW generating capacity, located near Boulder City, Nevada. However this all pales in comparision to the forthcoming Blythe Solar Power Project – a 968 MW solar thermal power station under construction in Riverside County, California.

+ Bureau of Land Management