McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. recently began construction on three solar projects in Meridian, Miss., using sustainable practices.
Meridian I and II encompass a 6 MW solar facility located on 38 acres of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian in Lauderdale County. Meridian III is a 75 MW solar project on approximately 650 acres in Lauderdale County, located outside of the Navy base.
Silicon Ranch Corp. selected McCarthy’s renewable energy group as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, responsible for the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of the facilities. Silicon Ranch is funding the installations and will own and operate the arrays long-term.
Meridian I and II will provide power to the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Meridian III will deliver wholesale energy to Mississippi Power. All three facilities will help support the Navy’s objective of strengthening grid resiliency and reliability at NAS Meridian. Local power company East Mississippi Electric Power Association, which serves NAS Meridian, has supported the development of all three projects.
Meridian I and II are scheduled to be complete in May, and Meridian III is scheduled for completion before the end of the year.
McCarthy has developed a strategy for reducing negative environmental impacts during the installation of the facilities. Through Simple Set Up Solutions, an Atlanta-based firm that connects recyclers and local vendors to find end-use buyers for construction site waste, McCarthy has formed a partnership with local recycler JWC Environmental whereby construction waste is being recycled into roofing felt and other building materials. As a result of this recycling program, the Meridian solar projects will be at least 98% sustainable, the company says.
McCarthy plans to hire more than 300 craft workers to construct the projects, the majority of whom are being recruited from the local community. The project will consist of assembling, installing and wiring horizontal single-axis trackers, supporting more than 190,000 solar modules. Once completed, the projects are expected to generate enough power for more than 8,500 homes and will contribute significant revenues to support the Lauderdale County school system.