Massive Mojave Desert Solar Project Canceled

The developer of a huge proposed solar power project that was once slated to cover 12.5 square miles of still-intact desert habitat has walked away from the idea, according to documents released by the California Energy Commission (CEC). The Calico Solar Project, proposed for land north of Interstate 40 between the hamlets of Ludlow and Newberry Springs, attracted opposition even from die-hard supporters of desert solar projects.

In a letter dated Thursday, developer K Road Power cited “changed market conditions” as the impetus for its dropping the project.

The Calico Solar Project started out as gargantuan even by the optimistic standards of 2009-era desert solar planners. Encompassing an area in excess of 8,000 acres of public lands, the project’s original owner Tessera would have covered the landscape with its proprietary “Suncatchers,” which consisted of parabolic mirrors that focused sunlight on Stirling engines about the size and noisiness of a Volvo engine. The company expected that its Calico project would generate up to 850 megawatts of power.

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