In Sept. 2019, Xcel Energy and Lightsource bp signed a long-term power contract for a new solar power facility in Pueblo, Colo. One of the largest solar infrastructure projects in the state, the 300 MW Bighorn Solar project is being developed and financed by Lightsource bp, who will be the long-term owner and operator.
McCarthy Building Companies’ Renewable Energy & Storage team was named by Lightsource bp as the engineer, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Bighorn Solar project, which will include the installation of nearly 750,000 Canadian Solar crystalline solar panels and NEXTracker single-axis trackers.
The project is primarily located on 1,800 acres of land on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo, making it the largest on-site solar facility dedicated to a single customer in the country. Xcel Energy, as the electrical provider for the steel mill, will purchase the electricity wholesale from Lightsource bp to sell to EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, providing cost-effective and predictable electricity rates that are helping ensure that the steel mill that employs 1,000 local workers is able to remain in Pueblo as well as expand their operations.
“We selected the McCarthy team as our EPC contractor both for their track record in successfully building large utility-scale projects here in Colorado as well as their commitment to hiring a local workforce,” says Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas at Lightsource bp.
“This project is a great example of how innovative partnerships can maximize the economic benefits that clean energy projects bring to local communities. At Lightsource bp, we’re excited to partner with organizations that will help us transition to low carbon energy that includes everyone,” he adds.
In addition to the local economic benefits that Bighorn Solar is bringing to Pueblo through its contribution to the economics of the steel mill and its new expansion, the project will create approximately 300 direct jobs on site, the majority of which will be hired from the local community, for the 12-14 month construction period beginning this fall.
Bighorn Solar is expected to complete in late 2021.
Photo: Lightsource bp and McCarthy Building Companies partner on the Bighorn Solar Project in Pueblo, Colo.