A study by the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University led by Rebecca Hernandez shows the potential ecological footprint of solar power development in the U.S. could grow to more than 27,500 square miles. The Carnegie study found that of 161 planned or operating utility-scale solar power developments in California, more than half will be or have been built on natural scrubland, 28% have been built on agricultural land, and 15% in developed areas. As a possible solution, Hernandez’s team found 8,500 square miles of land in California that are less environmentally sensitive and better suited for future solar power development.
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