BLM reviews Arizona solar projects in development-wary county

By Scott Streater | 05/24/2024 01:40 PM EDT

Mohave County officials and residents worry about solar panels covering the desert in their county while sending power to Nevada and California.

Transmission towers are shown near solar panels.

Transmission towers are shown near solar panels from the 100-megawatt MGM Resorts Mega Solar Array after it was launched June 28, 2021, in Dry Lake Valley, Nevada. Ethan Miller/AFP via Getty Images

The Bureau of Land Management is considering three large-scale solar power projects in a northwest Arizona county that has already chaffed at growing interest from the solar industry.

The projects proposed in Mohave County are not clustered together in one central area, like proposals BLM is reviewing in Nevada’s Esmeralda County that would group nine utility-scale solar projects over an area covering more than 185 square miles of federal land.

But the three proposed Mohave County solar projects, which collectively would have the capacity to produce enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, would cover nearly 20,000 acres of so-called “variance” tracts where BLM has determined solar projects can be built if they meet requirements.


The bureau must decide whether to grant a variance for the project, before starting formal environmental reviews of the Marketplace Solar, White Hills West and Arida 3 Solar projects.