U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar ushered in the second full day of the 2010 Solar Power International (SPI) expo on Wednesday by signing off on the first large-scale solar energy project to be built on public land in Nevada.
Dubbed the Silver State Solar Project, Nevada's newest clean energy project will be built on over 600 acres in Ivanpah Valley. The 50-megawatt (MW) facility will use Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar's thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules and supply solar energy for over 15,000 homes in southern Nevada's Clark County.
There are two main factors that led to Salazar signing the solar project into play. One is job creation: according to Newswire, the solar projects that are currently approved for construction on public lands across the U.S. will add hundreds of clean energy jobs to the nation's economy. Secondly, the Nevada solar project will help the state reach its goal of generating 25 percent of all its power from renewable sources by 2025.
In his remarks, Secretary Salazar noted the win-win of clean energy and jobs creation. "Silver State is one of several renewable energy projects in the pipeline that will help Nevada and the nation create jobs as we build a clean energy economy," Salazar said.
After a long stretch during which approval of public land projects was up for contention, the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management have seemingly opened the flood gates for such projects to take place. Earlier this month, Salazar approved two public land projects in California, the first two public-lands solar projects in the country.