McCarthy Completes Solar Project in Arlington, Arizona
Arlington, Arizona, along the fertile floodplains where the Hassayampa and Gila rivers meet west of Buckeye in Maricopa County, is mostly verdant green irrigated fields of cotton and alfalfa. But a new crop was planted this fall: rows and rows of solar panels providing clean, renewable energy.
“Building solar plants in sunny Arizona has always made sense, and the fact that we were able to recruit and train more than 250 workers from the local community for careers in this rapidly expanding industry makes this project even more impactful,” says Scott Canada, senior vice president of the Renewable Energy and Storage group at McCarthy Building Companies.
McCarthy recently completed construction and final commissioning of Sun Streams 2, a 200-megawatt solar project. Located on more than 1,000 acres, McCarthy's Renewable Energy and Storage Group served as Engineer, Procure, Construct contractor for the project, now owned by Longroad Energy, a U.S.-based renewable energy developer, owner, and operator.
“Longroad was a great partner to have on the final construction and commissioning of this solar project, in part because we share a commitment to bringing solar power and its economic benefits to communities across the nation,” Canada says. “We’re looking forward to future partnerships with them as they expand their footprint in Arizona and elsewhere.”
Sun Streams 2 has more than 450,000 First Solar Series 6 modules, including room for a substation expansion. McCarthy's self-perform field forces installed all modules, 5,805 NEXTracker trackers, 53 SMA MWPS-4000 inverter skids, DC wiring and combiner boxes, and underground 34.5 kV AC collection wiring.
McCarthy recruited employees for the project in Buckeye and Goodyear, which allowed locals an entryway into careers in clean energy. In addition, McCarthy employs extensive hands-on training and mentorship to assist entry-level craft workers and those with limited experience in solar construction in developing the skills needed to launch their careers in the growing clean energy industry.
Sun Streams 2 is one of four Maricopa County-based projects that Longroad acquired from First Solar in February 2021. The photovoltaics and storage portfolio totals approximately 900 megawatts with the potential for 1-2 gigawatts of battery storage.
Sun Streams 3, 4, and 5 are development projects with target operational dates between 2023 and 2025. These projects are ideally positioned to accommodate a variety of offtake structures, with or without storage. In addition, the projects are expected to generate over $40 million for Arizona schools via a long-term lease with the Arizona State Land Department and over $5 million in tax revenue.
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This article originally appeared in the bimonthly Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, Jan/Feb 2022 issue, Vol. 11, No. 1.