Solar program approved

Feds set 285,000 acres aside for solar-energy development

Solar-energy projects in six Western states, including California, have been put on the fast track by the Obama administration.

On Oct. 12, the U.S. Department of the Interior targeted roughly 285,000 acres at 17 sites in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah for commercial-scale solar projects, according to congressional newspaper The Hill. The Interior Department predicts the areas will produce roughly 23,700 megawatts of energy—enough to power 7 million homes. The federal government will offer incentives for solar development at the sites, assist in accessing existing or planned electric infrastructure and loosen permitting regulations.

Environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters commend the move for its potential to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and promote clean-energy jobs.