Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Permitting and Program Resources
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Non-Competitive Process

Procedures for Issuing Solar Energy ROW Grants Applicant-initiated action BLM-initiated action Major milestone BLM Issues ROW Grant BLM Evaluates Application Terms and Conditions for Grants Developer Submits Application Due diligence Assignments Issue notice to proceed Rent and applicable fees Performance and reclamation bond Finalize cost recovery Finalize plan of development Conduct NEPA evaluation Reject or prioritize application Variance concurrence (if applicable) Competitive bidding (if applicable) Initiate early tribal and interagency outreach Determine applicant technical/financial capabilities Preliminary meetings Initiate cost recovery Plan of development Application filing fee
Click on the steps in the diagram to learn more

BLM's process and requirements for issuing solar energy right-of-way (ROW) grants.

The regulations at 43 CFR 2800 and subparts (as amended in 2017) allow the BLM to issue solar energy ROW “grants” in response to applications for utility-scale solar energy development. The grant permitting process is not a competitive process, but the BLM may initiate competitive bidding under certain conditions. The BLM will not competitively offer lands for which the BLM has accepted an application and filing fee, received a plan of development, and executed a cost recovery agreement.

For processing solar ROW grants, the following categories of lands require processes and requirements in addition to the regulations at 43 CFR 2800 and subparts:

  • Variance Lands in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and portions of California, as identified through the 2012 Western Solar Plan.
  • Variance Process Lands (VPLs) in southeastern California, as identified through the 2016 Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) Record of Decision (ROD).
  • Development Focus Areas (DFAs) in southeastern California, as identified through the 2016 DRECP ROD.

For areas not described in the 2012 Solar PEIS or DRECP, the procedures for processing and issuing ROW grants simply follow the regulations at 43 CFR 2800 and subparts. The BLM will generally prioritize the competitive processing of leases for projects within designated leasing areas (DLAs) over processing grant applications for areas outside of DLAs. There are also additional prioritization criteria for applications outside of DLAs.

The diagram above describes the application process for solar energy ROW authorizations. Click on the steps in the diagram (or the navigation links on the left) for additional information. Summaries of procedures specific to Variance Lands, VPLs, DFAs, and lands outside the 2012 Solar PEIS are also available on the Procedures for Specific Areas outside DLAs webpage.