Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Permitting and Program Resources
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Solar Energy Zones

Map of Solar Designations from the 2012 Solar PEIS Record of Decision

Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) are defined as areas well suited for utility-scale production of solar energy, where the BLM will prioritize solar energy and associated transmission infrastructure development. The SEZs are identified as Designated Leasing Areas (DLAs) in BLM's leasing regulations (43 CFR 2800). Planning requirements for solar development within SEZs include National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis:

  • The BLM will complete a NEPA analysis of all solar energy right-of-way (ROW) applications prior to approval of a Plan of Development (POD) for a project and prior to issuing a ROW authorization. The BLM will also complete a NEPA analysis prior to offering lands for a competitive auction within an SEZ. During its NEPA analysis for future renewable energy development in SEZs, the BLM will tier to the analysis in the 2012 Solar PEIS to the extent practicable, in order to streamline the project-level review.

The 2012 Western Solar Plan identified 285,000 acres of BLM-administered lands in 17 SEZs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. In 2013 two additional SEZs were identified through different planning efforts: the 2,560 acre Agua Caliente SEZ in Arizona and the 10,759 acre West Chocolate Mountains SEZ in California.

There are 3 SEZs in Arizona, 3 SEZs in California, 3 SEZs in Colorado, 5 SEZs in Nevada, 1 SEZ in New Mexico, and 3 SEZs in Utah. In 2018 the area of the 3,882 acre Fourmile East SEZ in Colorado was de-allocated as an SEZ due to identification of significant cultural resources. The requirements of the 2012 Western Solar Plan are applicable to all applications filed within SEZs after June 30, 2009.

Detailed state-level maps are available, as well as SEZ-level maps located on SEZ-specific web pages.