Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 MW (AC) solar power plant under construction in the Mojave Desert, that will use approximately 8.8 million cadmium telluride thin-film solar photovoltaic modules made by First Solar.
 Project details
Project construction will take place in two phases, both of which are supported by power purchase agreements.
Phase I will have a capacity of 300 MW, which will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Phase II will have a capacity of 250 MW, which will be sold to Southern California Edison. The project is expected to involve more than 550 construction jobs in Riverside County, California. The project will be built on over 6 square miles (16 km2) of creosote bush-dominated desert habitat near Desert Center next to Joshua Tree National Park. Construction began in September, 2011 and final completion is expected in 2015.
The $1.46 billion in loans for the project are partially guaranteed by DOE and will be funded by a group of investors led by Goldman Sachs Lending Partners, which submitted the project under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. as co-lead arranger.
 Environmental issues
In 2012 the National Parks Conservation Association issued a report identifying three desert solar power plants sited within five miles of National Parks in the California Desert as projects that they suggest should not have been approved in their locations, including the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm. The group cites damage to visual resources, and impacts on desert species. Of concern are the impact on rare regional plants and animals such as Desert bighorn, burro deer, Palm Springs round tail ground squirrel and the federally threatened desert tortoise.
But it's also important to remember that if solar projects are done in a responsible way, they can be a key to protecting fragile ecosystems. Transitioning from fossil fuels to solar energy helps to protect such ecosystems from the threats of climate change. This is a "new stewardship strategy for protecting our lands and waters in the future".
- Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
- "DOE Closes on Four Major Solar Projects". Renewable Energy World. 30 September 2011.
- "Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project". Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "Group Calls For Strict Limits on Solar Power Near National Parks". KCET. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "First Solar Desert Sunlight Solar Farm: Comments Due". www.basinandrangewatch.org. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- John Podesta (Febrauary 11, 2011). "Clean energy development done right". Department of Interior Workshop.