Burns & McDonnell builds 65-MW solar project and substation in southern Texas

Burns & McDonnell completed construction of a 65-MWDC/50-MWAC solar project at electric retailer visstra‘s Brightside facility in Live Oak County, Texas.

Credit: Burns & McDonnell

Brightside uses 440-W First Solar thin-film modules installed on a single-axis tracking system. Burns & McDonnell also sourced and built the project substation, which is a 34.5-kV to 69-kV interconnection. The interconnecting substation design incorporated a future utility upgrade to the generating voltages, approximately 12 months after the commercial operation date, as the existing 69-kV transmission line will upgrade to a 138-kV transmission line.

“This project provided a unique opportunity for us to deploy our integrated EPC execution method by designing and self-performing the construction of both the PV and interconnecting substation,” said Matt Dickey, construction project manager at Burns & McDonnell. “By aligning the critical procurement packages with the construction packages and engineering packages we were able to procure equipment based on when the schedule called for it to be installed. This helped alleviate some of the supply chain issues and better plan the logistics of getting material to the site.”

At peak construction, the Brightside project employed 250 people. The project will provide clean energy to more than 25,000 residences.

“With the explosive population growth we’re seeing in Texas, projects like this are crucial in supporting a smooth, reliable transition to a fully electrified economy,” said Claudia Morrow, senior VP of development at Vistra. “Our industry recognizes that this is a time of transformation, and Vistra — supported by key partners like Burns & McDonnell — is leading the way to put clean megawatts on the grid and power a better future for all Texans.”

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