RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Two solar energy projects that, combined, will encompass nearly 9,000 acres in eastern Riverside County have received approval from the Department of Interior, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday.

      The McCoy Solar Energy Project is planned on U.S. Bureau of Land  Management land about 13 miles northwest of Blythe, according to federal  officials.

      The 7,700-acre project, being developed by McCoy Solar LLC, will boast a  750-megawatt photovoltaic energy generation facility, providing enough  electricity for 225,000 homes, according to the Interior Department.

      Five hundred construction jobs will be created, as well as 34 permanent  jobs once all phases of the project are completed.

      The Desert Harvest Solar Farm is planned on BLM land about six miles  north of Desert Center, federal officials said.

      The 1,200-acre project, proposed by EDF Renewable Energy, will use solar  panel arrays outfitted with sun-tracking technology to generate about 150  megawatts, powering around 45,000 homes, according to the Interior Department.

      Two hundred-fifty construction jobs will be created, as well as eight  permanent jobs once the project is finished.