The U.S. Department of Interior announced Wednesday that it has approved two First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) projects on public lands near the California-Nevada border. The projects will have a combined capacity of 550 megawatts, which is sufficient to power 170,000 homes. With these two projects, the government has approved 50 renewable energy projects on public lands since 2009.

Both First Solar projects parts of Obama’s plan

Both First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) projects are parts of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to cut down carbon pollution, create new jobs and lead the nation towards clean energy sources. President Obama plans to install 20 gigawatts of renewable energy on federal lands by 2020. The 50 projects approved so far bring the total to 14 gigawatts, and together they can power 4.8 million homes. Of them, 11 are wind, 12 geothermal and 27 solar projects. However, only 13 of them are in operation.

First Solar

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) will build a 300MW Stateline solar farm in San Bernandino County of California. Another 250MW will be built near Primm in Nevada. The Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said that Southern California Edison Co. has signed an agreement to purchase power from the two proposed projects for the next 20 years.

First Solar to make project design changes

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) will undertake project design changes to lower the impact on water, wildlife, cultural, historical and other resources. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) worked on the San Bernandino County to cut the project’s footprint by about 20% in an attempt to minimize project impacts. Moreover, BLM plans to expand the Ivanpah Desert Wildlife Management Area by about 20,000 acres to protect the endangered Desert Tortoise.

The Department of Interior is also considering a 3 gigawatts wind project that would carry Wyoming wind to California. If approved, it will be the biggest wind power project in North America.

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) shares surged 1.75% to $56.97 at 2:50 PM EST on Thursday.