Veterans help build new Texas solar farm

  • L3Harris and Lightsource bp commissioned large-scale solar farm in Texas
  • Local apprenticeship program aids veterans with new solar construction careers
  • Solar power agreement eliminates equivalent of approximately 110,000 metric tons of CO2 per year

DALLAS — A new large-scale solar infrastructure project, built in part by Texas veterans, began commercial operation under a power contract between L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) and Lightsource bp.

The agreement with L3Harris enabled Lightsource bp to finance and construct the solar project, which broke ground in January. Lightsource bp, owner and operator of the site, selected McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. as the Engineer, Procure, and Construct (EPC) contractor for the solar project.

Through an apprenticeship program, led by McCarthy and Adaptive Construction Services (ACS), approximately 50 veterans directly supported the construction of the solar project or completed training at the site. The infrastructure project, located 40 miles south of Dallas, created approximately 250 overall construction jobs.

“Veterans are a critical part of our company and our country’s workforce,” said Byron Green, Vice President, Global Operations, L3Harris. “This new solar project serves as a model of the benefits that shared goals among several organizations can create to support veterans, communities and the environment.”

The solar power agreement between L3Harris and Lightsource bp is the equivalent of eliminating about 110,000 metric tons of CO2 per year or removing 24,000 cars from the road every year. The agreement will help L3Harris meet its commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2026.

“At our Elm Branch solar project in Texas, we’ve come together with great partners who have a shared goal to help progress America’s sustainability,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp. “Together, we’ve built infrastructure that will reduce carbon emissions in the electricity sector and promote healthier, more resilient communities. At the same time, we’re helping veterans, who have done so much to protect America, with an apprenticeship program that’s the start of lasting careers for them in solar construction.”

The Elm Branch solar project is 163 megawatts in total. The agreement between L3Harris and Lightsource bp is for 100 megawatts of capacity and the environmental attributes. The total project is comprised of more than 360,000 solar panels across approximately 1,350 acres of land.

“Solar is providing excellent opportunities for underemployed or unemployed veterans and workers to embark on new rewarding careers,” said Scott Canada, Senior Vice President of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage group. “Veterans bring incredibly valuable skills and through our accredited apprentice training program we’re able to train them and provide a path for a long-term career in construction. We had great success with the program at Elm Branch and are implementing this on other projects around the country.”

ACS, a veteran-owned and staffed organization, joined the team to implement its accredited apprenticeship program that is free for participating veterans. Through the ACS program, each apprentice builds skill through the combination of on-the-job training, mentorship and technical instruction. The curriculum is designed to help veterans understand and develop the skills and knowledge essential to be successful on construction projects and supports McCarthy’s national craft workforce training initiative.

“Developing effective partnerships with employers and the public workforce system is critical to the success of any workforce development program,” said Nicolas Morgan, President, ACS. “The apprenticeships at Elm Branch provided veterans with an opportunity to gain skills needed to confidently work and contribute to a team, along with industry-recognized credentials that can translate into lasting careers.”

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