The US has approved the construction of the first two solar-power facilities, proposed by Chevron and Irish renewable-energy developer NTR PLC, to be built on federal public land in California.

“These projects are milestones in our effort to rapidly and responsibly capture renewable energy resources on public lands,” Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management Secretary Ken Salazar told the Wall Street Journal.

NTR unit Tessera Solar has plans to build a 709MW solar-thermal power plant in California’s remote Imperial Valley, whereas Chevron plans to build a 45MW solar-panel facility in San Bernardino County.

NTR will use large dishes lined with curved mirrors to track the sun and beam solar energy onto a device to generate electricity.

The two projects are expected to generate a revenue of over $1bn into California’s economy, and also provide electricity for up to 500,000 homes.