Posted on 09/12/2014

Photo taken on September 10, 2014


power plant
Desert Center
solar power
electricity generation
Chuckwalla Valley

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Chuckwalla Valley Solar Sprawl

Chuckwalla Valley Solar Sprawl
First Solar Inc. has a 550 MW cadmium-telluride photovoltaic electric power plant on 4,410 acres of land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It is next to the city of Desert Center (and west of Blythe).

Pacific Gas & Electric (of San Francisco) is buying 300 MW while Southern California Edison is purchasing the remaining 250 MW.

There is concern about the release of carcinogenic cadmium if or when the solar panels deteriorate. The area is home to Federally Threatened Desert tortoises as well as Burro deer, Golden eagles, burrowing owls, Round-tailed ground squirrels and is near the Chuckwalla Desert Wildlife Management Area.

It is argued that utilities could achieve the same generation results (with additional benefits) by placing their solar panels on the roofs of existing customers (who receive nearly the same insolation as Desert Center), thereby making it unnecessary to destroy wilderness by constructing a solar power plant.

Photographed from north of Corn Springs (and south of the I-10 freeway).
Riverside County, California

Clint, Don Barrett (aka DBs travels) have particularly liked this photo

Don Barrett (aka DBs travels)
Don Barrett (aka DBs…
Good narrative on this. One other point about building solar on rooftops instead of in the desert is that they wouldn't have to build all of the new power lines and transfer points.
4 years ago.
Yes. This one requires at least two transfer points (one for each company purchasing power).
4 years ago.