The Obama administration will open public lands in six Western states to more solar projects as part of a solar energy road map it publicized Tuesday.
The Interior Department set aside 285,000 acres in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah for the initiative. Firms can apply for waivers to develop projects on an additional 19 million acres.
Calling the announcement a “proud moment,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that it reaffirms Obama’s commitment to solar power. He noted public lands hosted no solar projects when Obama took office.
The administration has since approved 17 major solar projects on public lands producing about 6,000 megawatts of power, Salazar said.
“We have made huge strides in the last three-and-a-half years, but we realize we are only at the beginning of this effort and that there’s a lot more to do,” Salazar said. “I have no doubt that the United States will lead the world in solar energy development.”