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Large Utility Scale Solar Projects in USA faces Unlikely Opponents in Defense Industry and Wildlife Activists

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The US Government has recently approved a number of  Large Scale Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Projects as Renewable Energy Projects rush to meet the December 2010 Deadline for getting the 30% Subsidy Cash Grants from the US Treasury.California has been leading the way with gigawatts of solar thermal plants being approved.However these projects are facing resistance from local groups due to different reasons.Green Activists are questioning the Environment Friendliness of these projects due to the harmful effects on endangered desert wildlife.While some projects have dedicated millions of dollars for the Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Tortoises and other wildlife,Green NGOs are not convinced.The 660 MW,$2 Billion Tessera Solar Thermal Plant has been put under a review  of its approval due to protests that the approval was done with haste and without following proper procedures.Note Large Solar Thermal Projects need hundreds of acres of land and are being frequently built on public land.

Now the US Military Industry is joining the fray with its opposition to a First Solar 230 MW project in LA County.Northrop Gruman one of the largest military contractors is raising concerns that the Solar Farm will lead to difficulties in testing top secret Stealth Aircraft at its 1400 acre Test Facility nearby.The 2100 acre Solar Ranch One Project which will use millions of Cd-Te Panels from US Solar Producer First Solar had recently got approval after a tedious process.These protests underline the risks faced by large solar projects of time and cost delays.Not only do these Solar Plants face long gestation periods,the risks can come from unlikely places as well.It makes more sense to build distributed small power plants which also decrease the costs of electricity transmission.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Kapil

    Need to reach a common consensus to make a bigger point in this regard…

  2. Abhishek Shah

    Would you like to elaborate ?