Construction on solar farms underway

Projects will provide 500 or more jobs and electricity for North and Central Texas

Daily Light report
McCarthy Building Companies workers construct a solar farm. McCarthy has been hired by Lightsource bp to build two solar farms, one in Ellis County near Ennis and one in Navarro County near Corsicana.

McCarthy Building Companies has been selected by Lightsource bp as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for two utility-scale solar farms in Ellis and Navarro counties.

McCarthy is responsible for the design, procurement, construction, and commissioning of the facilities: the 163-megawatt Elm Branch Solar Farm located in Ennis and the 153-megawatt Briar Creek Solar Farm located in Corsicana.

Construction of the two projects recently began and is slated to be complete in September, with commercial operations of both solar farms expected by late 2021. The energy produced will offset greenhouse gas emissions by a total of 370,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.

McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage team plans to hire approximately 500 craft workers to construct the two projects — the majority of whom are being recruited from the local region and the military veteran community, as part of its new veteran recruitment program — and will train laborers seeking utility-scale solar construction experience. 

Area residents and military veterans interested in working on one of these solar projects should visit www.McCarthy.com/careers/search, and select the city where the project is located to find job postings for positions ranging from entry level to experienced, including laborer, operator, crew lead, electrician and journeyman electrician.

“We are grateful to be part of bringing clean energy and jobs to these Texas communities,” said Scott Canada, executive vice president of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage team. “With utility-scale solar construction jobs on the rise in Texas and around the country, we are continually working to help local skilled craft workers, veterans and those displaced from jobs in other sectors to join our solar project teams and receive the training needed to develop rewarding careers in the growing renewable energy sector.”

With more than 360,000 solar panels installed on approximately 1,350 acres of land, the 163-megawatt Elm Branch Solar Farm in Ellis County is expected to generate 272,000 megawatt hours of solar power annually – or enough to power 24,790 U.S. homes in a year, while reducing CO2 emissions by 156,000 metric tons.

The 153-megawatt Briar Creek facility in Navarro County will generate enough clean and economic electricity to power 27,270 homes, and a project of this size would allow for the offset of 223,440 metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to taking 45,815 cars off the road.

Lightsource bp is developing financing, owning and operating the Elm Branch and Briar Creek solar facilities. The two projects combined are an investment of $380 million in new local energy infrastructure for Texas. The projects will also deliver local economic benefits beyond clean and economical electricity for the greater Dallas Fort Worth area, including providing more than 500 jobs in solar construction.

“We selected McCarthy for both their track record of successfully bringing operational innovations to large-scale solar projects and their commitment to recruiting and hiring from the local workforce, including their new veteran recruitment program,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas for Lightsource bp. “Through their outstanding training and recruitment programs, the McCarthy team works hard to help local workers develop lasting careers in the growing solar industry.”