Burns & McDonnell recently completed construction of the CenterPoint Energy utility-scale solar project. The 50 MWAC project near Troy, Indiana, marks another step towards the utility’s goal of reducing operating emissions by 70% by 2035, based on 2005 emissions.
The solar field consists of around 150,000 solar modules, each mounted on a single-axis NEXTracker tracker. Burns & McDonnell worked with local construction companies and other subcontractors to support the on-site work effort. Hiring local traders and subcontractors also fueled employment growth in the region during a difficult economic downturn as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The customer is very excited about the launch of this solar project,” said Doug Riedel, senior vice president of renewable energies at Burns & McDonnell. “The customer recognizes the challenges the team faced during construction, the COVID-19 pandemic and the adverse weather, and is enthusiastic about the finished project.”
Burns & McDonnell was discontinued after the project’s original EPC contractor left the EPC market. CenterPoint Energy turned to Burns & McDonnell, the company who was the current engineer on the project, to provide engineering, detailed electrical, civil and structural designs, procurement specifications and construction services. Using an integrated team – including AZCO, part of the Burns & McDonnell family of companies, for construction – enabled consistency and effective communication at every stage of the project.
“Our ability to self-build this contract was instrumental in diversifying CenterPoint Energy’s generation portfolio,” said Chad Cotter, director, Solar EPC, Burns & McDonnell. “This project had a lot of moving parts, which when combined with a pandemic, made things even more complicated. Our integrated team was able to successfully solve the challenges that arose. “
Safety remained a top priority every step of the way. More than 164,000 safe working hours were logged, no days removed and no time-lost incidents. After the construction work is completed in January 2021, the new solar field will generate enough electricity to supply more than 12,000 households with electricity per year.
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