New solar project coming to Alamosa

ALAMOSA — A new project is set to break ground this August in the San Luis Valley that is expected to provide power to 194 homes.

There will be a new solar energy source that will be constructed. The venture is a collaboration between Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company LLC., Oakleaf Solar, and McCarthy Building Companies. The project will take place across Colorado, and one of the sites will be near Alamosa.

This project is anticipated to provide a new option for renewable energy to 12 Colorado areas, some of which are Denver, Watkins, Greeley, Platteville, Alamosa, Rifle and De Beque. Once completed, this project will become part of Xcel Energy’s Colorado Community Solar Gardens Project.

McCarthy Building Companies was selected by Greenbacker Renewable Energy to serve as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project and will oversee the entire design and construction process.

There will be approximately 60,000 solar modules assembled and installed across Colorado. The total number of homes that power is expected to be available for through these new solar-based power systems is 4,133.

The same opportunities for a new energy source that are being afforded to other areas around the state will soon also be available in the San Luis Valley. Once the site is operational, the Alamosa location is expected to generate 1.5 megawatts ac. of completely clean and renewable energy to the Xcel grid. The sites are designed to be adjacent to where the energy demand is anticipated to be.

The project is also expected to provide jobs for the local communities in each location as well as an opportunity for clean, renewable energy for area residents. It is anticipated that there will be around 600 workers that will be employed statewide during the course of the entire process, thus creating an economic impact for each area. 

Justin Peterson, vice president of operations for McCarthy’s Denver office, observed that this project is an opportunity to work with smaller rural communities and bring in new employees with more diverse backgrounds and skills. Since many of the hires for the project are expected to be from the local areas, McCarthy will also implement the practice known as Training Within Industry (TWI), a practice that goes back to the wartime training of the 1940’s to rapidly and effectively train workers in a new field. This is a two-fold process where the project leads are given the knowledge they will need to pass on instruction to the rest of the crew to ensure that those who will be a part of installing and operating the system can do so safely and efficiently.

Peterson also noted that this process is a way for employees to have the potential to gain a new skill and also increase their awareness of the opportunities that are available in the labor market of the construction world as a whole. Peterson expressed that it is “exciting” for the McCarthy team to be able to work on a project that has a renewable energy component in new, rural, non-metropolitan areas and thus be part of a broader range of projects.

McCarthy Building Companies is a nationally renowned corporation based out of St. Louis, Missouri and has had a role in numerous high profile projects. The projects range from water and sanitation, parking projects etc. to entertainment venues including the current construction of Las Vegas Stadium which is soon to be the new home of the NFL Raiders when the team relocates to Las Vegas in 2020. 

The Colorado solar project is set to be completed by the end of 2018.