Construction has started on the $625 million Palen Solar Farm in Desert Center, Dodge Data and Analytics says.
The Interior Department approved the project last year, on public lands south of the Joshua Tree National Park, in the open desert east of the Coachella Valley. The 3,100-acre, 500-megawatt power plant would be one of the country’s largest solar projects, generating enough renewable energy to balance out the planet-warming emissions of 17,000 average Palm Springs homes, the Desert Sun reported earlier.
“The project lies within a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Solar Energy Zone and Development Focus Area specifically marked for utility-scale renewable energy development,” EDF Renewables says. “Because it would use passive solar PV, the Project’s environmental footprint is smaller than the “solar trough” and “power tower” projects previously proposed for the project site.”