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Texas Solar Park Features 42,000 Solar Modules

The business of generating electricity has come a long way since 1882 when Thomas Alva Edison switched on the first power-generating station in Manhattan.  Fast forward to 2013 and the spotlight is on industry leader SunEdison, who is the largest North American developer of solar-power projects—meeting the needs of both Fortune 500 companies and neighborhoods nationwide.  In addition to developing over 883 MW of solar-energy capacity, SunEdison is the first solar-energy services provider to commercialize the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), eliminating capital outlay from customers, which has attracted utility companies like Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) who entered into a long-term PPA on a 225-acre solar park being developed near the border town of Presidio.

Expertise in Remote Location Mobilization Provides Distinct Advantage

SunEdison chose Chevron Energy Solutions as general contractor for the fast-track installation of a nearly 10 MW AC-rated photovoltaic system that is producing renewable power from the sun—and reducing the use of fossil fuel-derived energy-in a remarkable 10-week timeframe.  For well over a decade, Chevron Energy Solutions has developed hundreds of alternative and renewable energy projects like the BTU-Acacia solar-park project.

“Having completed the $45.4-million energy-conservation project at Camp Lejeune that involved the installation of approximately 20,000 solar photovoltaic panels, our Superintendent and General Foreman were a perfect choice to head up this massive field effort, which was also Bergelectric’s first project with Chevron Energy Solutions,” explained Berg Operations Manager.  In addition to its experienced personnel, a primary factor in the selection of Berg to install over 42,000 solar modules and a dozen 800kW Inverters on the Texas assignment was the company’s ability to quickly and effectively mobilize in the most remote areas.

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Located less than three miles from the US-Mexico border with the closest town for accommodations being 90 miles away, and shipments of materials originating in El Paso—a 240-mile distance—working in Presidio had its share of logistical challenges.  A tracking program that included at least twice weekly conference calls with distributors assured that the right materials were arriving on time.  Berg’s national resources, along with its highly-capable human resources team that was working diligently with the local agencies, means that on-site labor demands—expected to peak at about 115 onsite personnel—were being met.

Providing Sustainable Savings for Construction and Future Operations

A global leader in the technology that makes harnessing solar power possible, SunEdison’s parent company MEMC® provided its high-power, high-performance Silvantis 290W photovoltaic solar modules for Bergelectric to install at the Presidio site.  Silvantis’ 1000V UL rating translated to Berg crews being able to wire more modules together in a series string to one of the massive inverters.  “Ultimately, the BTU system provided considerable cost savings for construction as well as operations and maintenance,” noted Berg Project Manager.  “Because fewer combiner boxes were required and the amount of the individual wiring home-runs were reduced, we were able to spec higher-efficiency/lower-cost 800 kW and 400 kW inverters,” he added.

Bergelectric installed the ground-mounted tracking system in addition to providing all A/C, D/C and communications wiring, which go through a rigorous four-week testing and commissioning period prior to being tied into the existing power grid.  Although the 10 MW solar park is providing renewable energy-generation capacity for the residents throughout the county, according to the City of Presidio, it won’t be long until its entire municipality is “being powered by the sun.”

Type
Solar Installation

Electrical Construction Cost
$5.6 Million

Duration
July 2014 – Ongoing

Delivery Method
Design-Bid-Build

Other Team Members
Chevron Energy Solutions

Berg Regional Office
Austin

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