Kentucky Public Service Commission approves first utility-scale solar project in the state
Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives has announced a 50-MW . has gotAC solar contract for the construction of the Turkey Creek Solar Ranch in Garrard County, Kentucky. Nashville-based Silicon Ranch Corporation, one of the nation’s largest independent solar producers, has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract to IEA Constructors, an IEA subsidiary that manages large-scale energy and heavy civil infrastructure projects.
The Turkey Creek Solar Ranch is the first utility-scale solar project to receive approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission Siteing Board. Silicon Ranch is making a significant investment in Garrard County to fund the Turkey Creek project and will own and operate the solar panel on a long-term basis. Construction is expected to start in December 2021 and is expected to be completed in November 2022. The IEA’s work includes the installation of owner-supplied First Solar modules and the full balance of the system’s EPC construction, including civil, mechanical and electrical work.
Silicon Ranch will keep the land housing the Turkey Creek Solar Ranch in agricultural production after construction through managed sheep grazing and other regenerative pasture management methods under its Regenerative Energy platform. Through these regenerative farming practices, Silicon Ranch will restore land to a functioning grassland ecosystem and deliver additional benefits to the region, such as carbon sequestration, restored soil health, improved water quality and enhanced biodiversity. The company has already pioneered regenerative design and site pre-construction practices.
Garrard County sits on the fringe of an economically distressed region that ranks among the poorest 10% of the nation’s counties. The Turkey Creek Solar Ranch will deliver meaningful economic benefits to the local community and surrounding region through the injection of capital, critical tax revenues, new wages and other indirect and induced effects over the life of the project. According to SEIA, the Turkey Creek Solar Ranch will also nearly double the amount of solar megawatts installed in Kentucky.
“Kentucky’s new energy strategy, KYE3, emphasizes community opportunities where energy, environment and economic development converge,” said Kenya Stump, director of the Kentucky Office of Energy Policy. “Silicon Ranch’s Turkey Creek project is an example of the KYE3 strategy in action where energy production works with the land and benefits the community and the environment.”
To build the Silicon Ranch project, IEA will employ approximately 250 craftsmen, the majority of whom will be recruited locally from Garrard County, the surrounding area and the military veteran community. The project will hire people for positions ranging from entry-level to experienced, and the IEA will provide on-site training to workers seeking experience in utility-scale solar construction in assembling trackers, wiring harnesses and installing modules.
“IEA is proud to once again partner with Silicon Ranch to expand solar capacity in the United States,” said Joe Broom, IEA senior VP of solar construction activities. “The Turkey Creek Solar Ranch will put Kentucky on the domestic solar map and help bring additional renewable resources to the state.”
News report from Silicon Ranch