300-MW PV array supports nation’s 1st solar-powered steel mill

McCarthy Building Cos. recently completed construction and commissioning of the 300-MW Bighorn Solar project in Pueblo, Colorado. It is the first of two large-scale solar projects the company’s Renewable Energy & Storage Group is building in the area in conjunction with light source bpthe project owner.

Located on 1,800 acres of land on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property, Bighorn is the largest on-site solar facility dedicated to a single customer in the country and supports the nation’s first solar-powered steel mill.

Making Biodiversity a Priority

Credit: McCarthy Building Cos.

With this project, Lightsource bp has emphasized enhancing biodiversity at Bighorn.

Before construction began, McCarthy and Lightsource bp designed a site-specific seed mix, suited to the local climate, ecosystem and soil. The mix contains staple short grasses like western wheatgrass, buffalo grass and little bluestem, as well as a low concentration of purple prairie clover to provide nectar for pollinating insects to help proactively conserve the important habitat of the site over the life of the project.

“The Bighorn Solar project was amazing from start to finish,” said Justin Peterson, VP of operations for McCarthy’s Colorado office. “Not only were we able to help deliver reliable clean energy in support of Colorado’s push to renewables but we also brought in hundreds of new jobs — career-starters, really — to the area. Layer all of that with the commitment to minimize the disturbance to the area’s important grassland ecosystem and what results is a win-win-win for the community as a whole.”

McCarthy and Lightsource bp will continue their collaboration as they build utility-scale solar at the Sun Mountain Solar project currently underway in Pueblo. Situated on more than 1,700 acres of land, Sun Mountain is set to be among the largest solar projects to date in Colorado, the companies stated in a press release.

“We’re committed to being a long-term partner and continuing to advance Colorado’s clean energy economy,” said Stephen Barnes, senior vice president, project management and construction for Lightsource bp. “The Bighorn Solar project along with Sun Mountain brings Lightsource bp’s current investment to over a half billion dollars in building infrastructure to diversify the Colorado electricity supply with clean and secure energy. With our large pipeline of solar projects in the region, and across America, this is just the beginning.”

News item from McCarthy Building Companies

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