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Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS (Solar PEIS) and Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) in USA for faster Solar Farm Development – What you want to know

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What is a Solar Energy Zone

Under the BLM’s solar energy development program alternative (program alternative), 17 areas would be identified as SEZs. A SEZ is defined by the BLM as an area with few impediments to utility-scale production of solar energy where BLM would prioritize solar energy and associated transmission infrastructure development. Under the SEZ alternative, only the lands within the proposed SEZs would be available for right-of-way application

285,000 acres Approved across 6 States

The US Federal Government has approved 285,000 acres of land across 6 southern states for deployment of utility grade solar farms. Note the approval for ground mounted solar plants typically takes 3-4 years as it has to go through multiple agencies like BLM, EPA etcs. However this pre-approval of land will accelerate the deployment as the land has already been earmarked for development of solar power projects. The biggest beneficiaries will be US solar installers and developers like First Solar, Sunpower, Sunedision who have already built hundreds of megawatts of capacity. The land is in the 6 US states of  California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Most of the land – 153,627 acres is in Southern California.

The land has been chosen because of the following features:

a) They are near existing power lines, allowing for quick delivery to energy-hungry cities.

b) The chosen sites have fewer of the environmental concerns – such as endangered desert tortoise habitat – that have plagued other projects.

There are still concerns the new plan could still get mired in the same pattern of delay and inefficiency that hampered previous efforts, and urged the government to continue pushing solar projects forward.

Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS (Solar PEIS)

The Solar PEIS has been prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (the Agencies) in order to assess environmental impacts associated with the development and implementation of agency-specific programs that would facilitate environmentally responsible utility-scale solar energy development in six western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah).

Solar Energy Zones Locations




New Mexico





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

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