Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, an infrastructure construction company with specialized energy and heavy civil expertise, announced that it has begun construction on the 25-MWac Appling Solar Farm, located near the Baxley, Georgia.
Nashville-based Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, selected IEA’s subsidiary, IEA Constructors, as the EPC contractor for the project. IEA is responsible for the design, procurement, construction, commissioning and handover of the facility. Silicon Ranch is funding the installation and will own and operate the array for the long-term, consistent with all projects Silicon Ranch develops.
“At Silicon Ranch, we believe we can make a positive difference in the communities we serve, and we’re pleased to work with IEA to execute this vision in Appling County,” said Reagan Farr, Silicon Ranch co-founder and CEO. “Silicon Ranch is investing significantly in the local and statewide economy, deploying Georgia-produced modules, hiring local subcontractors, and recruiting from the local labor pool and military veteran community. We thank all of our partners for making this project and these investments possible.”
To construct the project, IEA will hire approximately 200 craft workers, the majority of whom will be recruited from the local labor pool in Georgia and the military veteran community. Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, IEA will forego hosting a local job fair.
Area residents interested in working on the Appling Solar Farm should apply online at IEA.net. The project will hire for positions ranging from entry-level to experienced professionals, including laborers, CDL operators, welders and carpenters.
IEA will provide workers seeking utility-scale solar construction experience with on-site training in tracker assembly, wire harnessing and module installation. Workers will assemble and install single-axis trackers that use NEXTracker’s TrueCapture smart control system, on the approximately 95,000-panel project. The modules are produced locally by Hanwha Q CELLS at its new manufacturing facility in Northeast Georgia, which is the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
Both Silicon Ranch and IEA share a commitment to safety, and IEA will follow CDC and OSHA guidance for preparing workplaces and responding to COVID-19 at the project site through social distancing, additional cleaning and monitoring standards in an effort to reduce the impact of the virus, the company said in a press release.
Workers supporting the energy sector through renewable energy, including those supporting construction, have been identified as “essential” by the Department of Homeland Security. More information on critical infrastructure during COVID-19 can be found here.
The U.S. is the second-largest generator of solar power in the world, and Georgia remains one of the fastest-growing markets for growth in the country. In its 10th Annual National Solar Jobs Census, the Solar Foundation reported that Georgia placed first in the nation in 2019 in the rate of solar job growth, with an increase of nearly 30% year-over-year. According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, the state of Georgia is projected to see continued growth in solar construction through at least 2024.
“Silicon Ranch is a natural partner for IEA given our renewable footprint in the Southeast region and like-minded approach to renewable construction,” said Joe Broom, IEA’s senior VP of solar construction operations. “The Southeast region is anticipated to be one of the largest areas for solar installations over the next five years. As a leading constructor of renewable energy projects, IEA is committed to meeting the continued demand for renewable energy sources in Georgia and across North America.”