The amount of solar energy that hits Earth in a year is so huge that it is equal totwice the energy that all coal, oil, natural gas and other resources can ever generate.
Solar Energy Development Environmental Considerations
Utility-scale solar energy environmental considerations include land disturbance/land useimpacts, visual impacts, impacts associated with hazardous materials, and potential impacts onwater and other resources, depending on the solar technology employed.Solar power plants reduce the environmental impacts of combustion used in fossil fuel power generation such as green house gas and other air pollution emissions. However, concerns have been raised over land disturbance, visual impacts, and the use of potentially hazardous materialsin some systems. These and other concerns associated with solar energy development arediscussed below, and will be addressed in the Solar Energy Development Programmatic EIS.
Land Disturbance/Land Use Impacts
All utility-scale solar energy facilities require relatively large areas for solar radiation collectionwhen used to generate electricity at a commercial scale, and the large arrays of solar collectorsmay interfere with natural sunlight, rainfall, and drainage, which could have a variety of effectson plants and animals. Solar arrays may also create avian perching opportunities that could affect both bird and prey populations. Land disturbance could also affect archeological resources. Solar facilities may interfere with existing land uses, such as grazing. Proper siting decisions can helpto avoid land disturbance and land use impacts.
Because they are generally large facilities with numerous highly geometric and sometimes highlyreflective surfaces, solar energy facilities may create visual impacts; however, being visible is