The sites, called Solar Energy Zones, are on public lands. The Gillespie site is northwest of Gila Bend and the Brenda site is southeast of Parker. The two zones total about 6,000 acres. According to the Obama Administration, enough solar panels could be installed there to generate 663 megawatts of power.
The Department of the Interior is listing 17 BLM-administered sites in six western states as having a high potential for power generation with the fewest environmental impacts. The sites are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. They're identified in a final environmental impact statement on the solar plan that was released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management.
Federal officials say the move will streamline solar development on public lands. Projects proposed for the sites would be large enough to provide power to utilities.
Environmental groups say the plan strikes a balance between conservation and development, while solar advocates say they hope it will speed the permitting process.
The zones cover 285,000 acres, which according to the Interior Department, could provide enough sites for solar panels to generate more than 31,000 megawatts of power.
The agencies first began identifying the solar zones in 2008. Since then, they've received more than 200,000 public comments on the solar plan.
Executive summary of the Environmental Impact Statement for creating Solar Energy Zones: