Here are the Utility-Scale nominees for the 2023 Solar Builder Project of the Year Awards.
The form is at the bottom of the page. You are allowed to vote once per day from now until Saturday, Oct. 7 at midnight (EDT). (FYI: Our voting widget will let you vote more than once a day, but we filter these out in the back-end. Sorry, ballot stuffers). Winners will be announced and prominently featured in the Q4 issue of Solar Builder magazine and online in December.
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Houston Solar Farm
Houston, Alaska | 8.5 MW
Given Alaska’s climate conditions and remote location, securing project financing was a unique challenge for the Houston Solar Farm. Additionally, preserving the native landscape was an important consideration and a key area of focus for all Alaskans. The 8.5 MW, 45-acre Houston Solar Farm was developed by Renewable IPP. CleanCapital financed the project construction and serves as the long-term owner-operator. The local utility, Matanuska Electric Association, Inc. (MEA), purchases the project’s generated energy. Today the solar farm powers approximately 1,400 homes. As solar-trained workers were not readily available, Renewable IPP sourced and trained the construction team from the local community. Women comprised 30% of the team. The solar farm was built on “raw” land, lessening environmental impact by preserving the native vegetation and soil. For example, to enable the growth of cranberry and blueberry bushes, a mulching technique was implemented. The project was designed to enable snow shedding and snow blowing between panel rows as well.
Franklinton, Louisiana | 82.49 MWdc
One day before substantial completion was to be declared for Iris Solar, on Aug. 29, 2021, the Category 5 Hurricane Ida caused significant damage to the region. An assessment after the weather cleared found that 70% of the site was damaged. The rebuilding process included an intensive clean-up of debris and a “make-safe” execution plan to determine what equipment was safe to operate. The Iris Solar project, when in development and design, was set to be the largest solar project in Louisiana. Sitting on nearly 500 acres in Franklinton, Washington County on the Louisiana State University Agriculture Research land, locals referred to the land as the “hilliest site in Louisiana.” To combat the demanding terrain, Primoris implemented new tracker technologies and innovations –- some of which were being used on a project of this scale for the first time. The two tracker technologies used helped reduce the project’s grading requirements by as much as 95%. The solar facility, developed and operated by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, is an important addition to Entergy’s utility-scale solar portfolio. The company has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement to provide clean-energy solutions to its customers.
Developer: Iris Solar LLC (DESERI) | EPC/Installer: Primoris Renewable Energy (Primoris Services Corporation) Modules: First Solar | Inverters: TMEIC | Storage: N/A | Mounting/Racking: FTC and Nevados
Arrow Canyon Project
Moapa, Nevada | 200 MWac + and 75 MW storage
Arrow Canyon, a 1,387-acre facility brought to life through EPC Contractor McCarthy and client EDF Renewables (EDFR) is capable of generating enough power to meet the needs of up to 76,000 Nevada homes. Arrow Canyon boasts a capacity of 275 MWdc with a 75 MW, 375 MWh DC-coupled BESS component to capture additional power. Arrow Canyon employed over 450 dedicated team members, including 46 members of the Moapa Tribe. McCarthy approached this project as an opportunity for tribal members to become fully integrated workforce members who were directly involved, employed and integrated throughout the project lifecycle. Arrow Canyon was also designed to minimize environmental impact. Prior to starting construction, the team fenced off 1,800 acres of land where biologists located 12 federally protected tortoises, which were removed and relocated for the duration of the project. Another priority for the team was to minimize soil disturbance. The installation of solar panels required temporarily flattening vegetation on site. This was done in a way that preserved the plants’ root structures and disturbed the ground as little as possible to facilitate faster regrowth of the tortoises’ habitat.
North Stonington Solar Center
New London County, Connecticut | 20 MWdc
Largely developed and built during the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Stonington Solar Center is a 20 MWdc solar project developed in partnership with an affiliate of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, owners and operators of the Foxwoods Resort Casino. The Mashantucket Pequots live on and around one the oldest continuously occupied Native American reservations in North America, and the Tribe is one of Connecticut’s highest taxpayers and largest employers. This solar project showcases the importance of working with Indigenous communities in achieving energy sovereignty given that this project will provide a long-term revenue stream for the Tribe in their leasing of the land to the project. The estimated annual production is expected to be 31,939 MWh. The North Stonington Solar Center also provided employment and economic opportunities to local contractors and businesses during construction and will continue to provide jobs during the operation and maintenance phases.
Developer: Adapture Renewables | EPC/Installers: Douglas – civil contractor; PEC (Professional Electrical Contractors) – electrical subcontractor; Nextracker/Structurology – tracker; Ninsa – mechanical subcontractor | Modules: LONGi | Inverters: Sungrow | Storage: N/A | Mounting/Racking: Nextracker
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