CRF Blog

Land speculators see gold in solar

by Bill Hayes

The Los Angeles Times reports that speculators are driving up the price of desert land because of its potential for solar projects.

  • For Sale: 3,400 acres in the desert.
  • • No paved roads. Check.
  • • Isolated. Ideal.
  • • Land not suitable for farming. Perfect.
  • • Blistering sunshine. Jackpot.
  • • Asking price: $34 million. Deal.
  • Desolate acreage that a few years ago might have sold for less than $500 an acre can now fetch as much as $20,000 an acre, according to land brokers in the region. Farmers are also getting in on the action. Alfalfa and cotton fields are being converted to solar and wind farms as the industry’s big players put together mega-deals. [more]

    As large-scale solar development has spooled out into Southwestern deserts, the modern-day gold rush is about more than renewable energy. Solar companies and land speculators are gobbling up scarce private land in the California deserts, driving prices up 10- to 20-fold, or even higher.