Here are some Google Earth images showing the proposed footprints of some destructive solar projects relative to familiar places, such as downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, or the desert city of Victorville. The proportions are matched to the actual sites on Google Earth and transposed on the urban areas. Keep in mind that most of these projects are supposed to generate anywhere from 250-400 megawatts of electricity, but 7-10% of that will leak out of the transmission lines as it travels many miles to reach the electricity customers.
Then consider that already-disturbed lands, rooftops, and parking lots could accommodate enough solar panels to produce even more energy than these destructive projects in the desert. A study by UCLA found that the city of Los Angeles has enough rooftop space to generate up to 5,500 MW of solar energy, and the whole County of Los Angeles could install up to 19,000 MW of rooftop solar.
|(Click on image to expand) The proposed right-of-way for First Solar's Silver State solar project transposed over downtown San Francisco.|
|(Click on image to expand) An outline of the Calico Solar power project -- proposed by K Road Solar -- compared to the Victor Valley in California. The project would destroy a swath of intact desert ecosystem that would stretch from Apple Valley to the western reaches of Victorville.|
|This image shows the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System's (ISEGS) size relative to Manhattan. Phase 1 of the project would engulf lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center, while Phase 3 (in the background) would reach Central Park. Hundreds of desert tortoises will be displaced or killed by the project in the Ivanpah Valley of the Mojave Desert. (Click on image to expand)|
|The proposed 23 square mile Ocotillo Express Wind project would be built next to Anza-Borrego State Park in California's Sonoran Desert. The project is as big as San Diego, as the overlay above shows. (Click on image to expand)|
|The boundaries of First Solar Inc's proposed Silver State solar power project transposed over downtown Los Angeles, with the LA Coliseum in the foreground, downtown LA further back, and Dodger Stadium in the distance. (Click on image to expand)|
|First Solar Inc's proposed Stateline solar power project relative to downtown Sacramento. The Stateline solar power project will destroy approximately 3.4 square miles of desert habitat next to BrightSource Energy's ISEGS project if it is approved. (Click on image to expand)|
|Much of the desert in this picture would be bulldozed for the Stateline solar power project, the boundaries of which are transposed on downtown Sacramento to show relative size in one of the images above. This photo of the Ivanpah Valley is from Basin and Range Watch.|
|The Calico Solar power project would destroy much of the desert habitat pictured here, all the way to the Cady Mountains in the distance.|
|This creosote and yucca scrub habitat is being destroyed for BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS).|