With the completion of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development (Solar PEIS), the Department of the Interior established a national Solar Energy Program that governs the use of BLM land for utility-scale solar energy projects.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed the Record of Decision for the project in October 2012.
The Solar Energy Program (SEP) designates two solar energy zones (SEZ) on BLM-managed land in Arizona. They are the Brenda SEZ and the Gillespie SEZ. The Brenda SEZ is 3,878 acres north of Interstate 10 in La Paz County. The Gillespie SEZ is southwest of Buckeye and south of Interstate 8 and west of State Route 85. It encompasses 2,618 acres. Bullard Wash was nominated as a SEZ but was removed from consideration.
In addition, the Agua Caliente SEZ in Arizona was established by the Restoration Design Energy Project (RDEP). The Agua Caliente SEZ is north of Dateland in Yuma County, about 70 miles east of the City of Yuma. It encompasses 2,550 acres.
The SEP also designates about 3 million acres in Arizona managed by the BLM as "variance" land. Variance land can be used for solar development, but they require preliminary approval, or a variance. Arizona's complementary RDEP narrows the variance land to 192,000 acres.
Supervisory Project Manager
BLM Arizona Renewable Energy Coordinating Office
More information about the Solar PEIS.