50 MW Nevada Solar Project Signed Off On

Now it’s Nevada getting into the act. One week after a trio of projects in California became the first large-scale solar installations approved for construction on U.S. public lands, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said yes to plans for a 50 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic plant in the Ivanpah Valley about 40 miles south of Las Vegas.

If the location for the Silver State North Project sounds familiar, that’s because it’s in the general area that’s getting the 370 MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, on the California side of the state line. BrightSource Energy is building the California project, while First Solar is doing Silver State.

image via U.S. Interior Department

This is the first solar-power project to be permitted on the Bureau of Land Managment site, but First Solar has big plans: It envisions constructing 350 MW more of generating capacity there, the Interior Department said. However, the Department noted those projects “will require additional supplemental environmental review and analysis.”

No timeline for the 618-acre Silver State project was detailed, but the Interior Department said that when it’s completed, the plant would generate enough power to supply around 15,000 homes.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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