Solar Energy Zones
The Record of Decision signed by Secretary Salazar on October 12, 2012 implements a comprehensive Solar Energy Program to administer the development of utility-scale solar energy resources on BLM-administered public lands in six southwestern states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. The Record of Decision today followed the July 2012 release of the Final Solar Programmatic EIS, a comprehensive analysis that identified locations on BLM lands most suitable for solar energy development. These areas are characterized by excellent solar resources, access to existing or planned transmission and relatively low conflict with biological, cultural and historic resources.
The Solar Programmatic EIS establishes an initial set of 17 Solar Energy Zones, totaling about 285,000 acres of public lands, that will serve as priority areas for commercial-scale solar development, with the potential for additional zones through ongoing and future regional planning processes. If fully built out, projects in the designated areas could produce as much as 23,700 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power approximately 7 million American homes. The program also keeps the door open, on a case-by-case basis, for the possibility of carefully sited solar projects outside SEZs on about 19 million acres in "variance" areas. The program also includes a framework for regional mitigation plans, and to protect key natural and cultural resources the program excludes a little under 79 million acres that would be inappropriate for solar development based on currently available information.
Below are links to state-by-state maps of the Solar Energy Zones, variance areas, and exclusion areas. Two sizes of maps are available for each of the six states. The letter-size maps are formatted for 8.5 x 11 inch paper. The large-scale maps are 30 x 44 inches. The maps require the free Acrobat Reader.
Six-State Map of Lands Available for Application under the BLM Alternatives presented in the Final Solar PEIS (18.4 MB)