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Sonoran Solar Energy Project: Maricopa County Arizona Plan Approved By Feds

12/21/11 10:44 AM ET   AP

PHOENIX -- The federal government has approved the Sonoran Solar Energy Project, which will be built on public lands in Arizona's Maricopa County.

Bureau of Land Management officials say it's the first solar energy project approved on federal public lands in Arizona.

The 300-megawatt project is expected to provide enough energy when operating at full capacity to power 90,000 homes.

The 2,013-acre project is smaller than what was originally proposed (3,620 acres) and will use a fraction of the water (33 acre/feet a year) than originally envisioned (about 3,000 acre/feet a year).

The project site is in the Rainbow Valley east of State Route 85 and south of Buckeye. The area contains wildlife habitat and authorities say burrowing owls will be relocated to other BLM lands.

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Filed by Chris Gentilviso  |