U.S. government identifies 22 million acres of solar land in Western states
Release Date: 2024-01-22 Visit: 41 Source: TIDE SOLAR INC.

The Western Solar Program, which will govern the leasing of public solar lands in the United States, has been updated for the first time in more than a decade. It has identified 22 million acres (8.9 million hectares) of land best suited for solar development in 11 priority states.
First Solar's Agua Caliente project covers 9 square kilometers in southern Arizona.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a draft analysis of the Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the utility-scale solar program, also known as the Western Solar Initiative. It is designed to guide responsible solar development on public lands.
The plan, first released in 2012, initially identified areas in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah with high solar potential and low resource conflicts. The new document refines the analysis from the original six states and expands it to include Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
It identified 22 million acres of land in 11 states that are best suited for solar development.

The document calls for solar development to be concentrated in areas with fewer sensitive resources, less conflicts with other uses of public lands and close to transmission lines, and identifies 200,000 acres near existing transmission infrastructure.
Ben Norris, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said the BLM’s proposal is “a big step in the right direction and recognizes the critical role solar plays in our energy economy.”
"Under current policy, at least 80 million acres of federal land are available for oil and gas development, which is 100 times the amount of public land available for solar development," he added. “SEIA has been advocating for changes to the Solar PEIS for 12 years and appreciates the BLM’s extensive efforts to gather stakeholder feedback and produce revisions that balance development and conservation. We will continue to urge the administration to streamline permitting and leverage the federal land portfolio to Increase jobs, promote energy security and improve conservation outcomes.”
The BLM also announced next steps for several renewable energy projects in Arizona, California and Nevada that represent more than 1,700 megawatts of potential solar generation.
Under the Biden administration, the BLM has approved 47 clean energy projects, enough to power more than 3.5 million homes.
In December, SEIA predicted that the United States would add 33 GW of new solar installed capacity nationwide in 2023.