D eep in the Mojave desert, about halfway between Los Angeles and Phoenix, a sparkling blue sea shimmers on the horizon. Visible from the I-10 highway, amid the parched plains and sun-baked mountains, it is an improbable sight: a deep blue slick stretching for miles across the Chuckwalla Valley, forming an endless glistening mirror.
But something’s not quite right. Closer up, the water’s edge appears blocky and pixelated, with the look of a low-res computer rendering, while its surface is sculpted in orderly geometric ridges, like frozen waves. “We had a guy pull in the other day towing a big boat,” says Don Sneddon, a local resident. “He asked us how to get to the launch ramp to the lake.
I don’t think he realised he was looking at a lake of solar panels.”Over the last few years, this swathe of desert has been steadily carpeted with one of the world’s largest concentrations of solar power plants, forming a sprawling photovoltaic sea.
On the ground, the scale is almost incomprehensible. The Riverside East Solar Energy Zone – the ground zero of California’s solar energy boom –stretches for 150,000 acres, making it 10 times the size of Manhattan.It is a crucial component of the United States’ green energy revolution.Read more on theguardian.com