A new large-scale solar infrastructure project, built in part by Texas veterans, began commercial operation under a power contract between L3Harris Technologies and Lightsource bp. Lightsource BP is financing and constructing the solar project thanks to their agreement with L3Harris. Construction began in January 2021. As owner and operator of the site, Lightsource bp selected McCarthy Building Companies as the EPC for the solar project.
Veterans-owned and staffing organization, Adaptive Construction Services (ACS), joined the team to implement its free accredited apprenticeship program. As part of the ACS program, each apprentice receives both on-the-job training and mentorship, as well as technical instruction. The curriculum is designed to help veterans understand and develop the skills and knowledge essential to be successful on construction projects and supports McCarthy’s national craft workforce training initiative.
Led by McCarthy and the ACS apprenticeship program, approximately 50 veterans directly supported the construction of the solar project or completed training at the site. The infrastructure project, located 40 miles south of Dallas, created approximately 250 overall construction jobs.
“Solar is providing excellent opportunities for underemployed or unemployed veterans and workers to embark on new rewarding careers,” said Scott Canada, Senior Vice President of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage group. “Veterans bring incredibly valuable skills and through our accredited apprentice training program we’re able to train them and provide a path for a long-term career in construction. We had great success with the program at Elm Branch and are implementing this on other projects around the country.”
This agreement eliminates the equivalent of approximately 110,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, helping L3Harris meet its commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2026.
“Veterans are a critical part of our company and our country’s workforce,” said Byron Green, Vice President, Global Operations, L3Harris. “This new solar project serves as a model of the benefits that shared goals among several organizations can create to support veterans, communities and the environment.”
“At our Elm Branch solar project in Texas, we’ve come together with great partners who have a shared goal to help progress America’s sustainability,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp. “Together, we’ve built infrastructure that will reduce carbon emissions in the electricity sector and promote healthier, more resilient communities. At the same time, we’re helping veterans, who have done so much to protect America, with an apprenticeship program that’s the start of lasting careers for them in solar construction.”
The Elm Branch solar project is 163 MW in total. The agreement between L3Harris and Lightsource bp is for 100 MW of capacity and the environmental attributes. The total project is comprised of more than 360,000 solar panels across approximately 1,350 acres of land.
“Developing effective partnerships with employers and the public workforce system is critical to the success of any workforce development program,” said Nicolas Morgan, President, ACS. “The apprenticeships at Elm Branch provided veterans with an opportunity to gain skills needed to confidently work and contribute to a team, along with industry-recognized credentials that can translate into lasting careers.”
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