Nevada's turquoise solar undertaking enters industrial operation

McCarthy Building Companies' Renewable Energy & Storage Group recently completed construction of the Turquoise Solar project in Washoe County, Nev.

The new 61 MW DC solar park is located on approximately 180 hectares in Reno Technology Park – a 2,200 hectare industrial park shared by Apple and Turquoise Solar, which own 1,600 and 600 hectares respectively.

Within the park, the Turquoise Solar Project is owned by Greenbacker Renewable Energy Co. (GREC), a utility-scale development company for renewable energy. Upon completion of the project, the project became the largest operational solar project in GREC's portfolio.

“Turquoise is the largest individually operated solar project in GREC's portfolio to date. Many more great projects will soon be added to our construction pipeline, ”said Charles Wheeler, CEO of GREC. “The completion was a tremendous achievement and the result of tremendous collaboration between the parties involved. We are incredibly proud to have been a part of it all. Despite an extremely challenging year across the country, 2020 was a year of growth for us as we continued to put new wind and solar projects like this online. "

The project has so far exceeded expected power generation, even though solar radiation was below expectations. This strong performance has benefited from the service provider's ability to keep the inverters near 100% available to generate clean power for Apple's data center. Cypress Creek Renewables is providing operation and maintenance for the project.

Construction on the project began in November 2019, creating 236 clean energy craftsman jobs, over 90% of which were occupied by Nevada residents. It was also a more than $ 60 million investment in Washoe County.

Much of the Turquoise Solar project is located in rocky desert terrain with slopes between 10% and 30% which has been a technical challenge. McCarthy, who was the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project, worked with TerraSmart to design and develop a plan for the site. The approach was supported by internal and external consultants and depended on the TerraSmart fixed slope shelving system which uses ground screw foundations. The system proved to be more than up to the site and was capable of drilling into the rocks, hills and difficult soils of the site. By working together, McCarthy and TerraSmart saved time and money by minimizing the clearance and construction work for the project. This also included the installation and cabling of 156,000 bifacial 390 W ET solar modules.

Over the past decade, McCarthy's Renewable Energy & Storage group has completed or is in the process of completing more than 50 utility-scale clean energy projects in communities across the country. These projects provide the communities in which they operate a total capacity of more than 4.2 GW of clean power generation and 320 MW of energy storage.

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